Spanish fashion chain Cortefiel is considering launching Springfield Women to gain scale against archrivals Zara, Mango, Sfera and H&M, Spanish newspaper Cinco Dias reported.

The Madrid-based retailer already runs the fast-growing Springfield men's apparel chain, which has taken Europe's market by storm and has become the chain's stalwart brand.

Cortefiel's new owners, private equity concerns CVC, PAI and Permira, are keen to launch the venture to muscle its presence in the burgeoning women's apparel market, the paper reported.

Cortefiel could not immediately be reached for comment.

The company already sells women's clothes in its quintessential Cortefiel chain and has a growing presence in lingerie through international banner Women's Secret.

According to Cinco Dias, Cortefiel would introduce a pilot women's line inside Springfield stores in mid 2006. If it succeeds, it would roll out a separate Springfield Women chain afterward.

Springfield Women would target a young female market, just like Springfield does for men, the report added.

Cortefiel operates 470 Springfield doors in 28 countries.

By Ivan Castano.