Spanish fashion chain Cortefiel is to open over 1,000 new doors by 2010, elevating its store count to roughly 2,200 points of sale, trade union officials have confirmed to

The Madrid-based retailer will also launch the Springfield women's banner, they said, to take on archrivals Zara and Mango and H&M, which have strong footholds in female apparel.

Cortefiel will pursue the expansion by opening self-owned outlets, franchised stores, corners and other retail formats, mostly in Spain, an official with the main Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) syndicate said, requesting anonymity.

Many of the new outlets will open under its existing Cortefiel, Springfield and  Women's Secret banners, he added. The unions'comments came shortly after Cortefiel announced that it won't open all future stores on its own and that many will be franchised outlets.

The company said it did not have specific expansion targets. However, it noted that it will enter new undisclosed markets and fashion segments and make acquisitions to continue growing around the globe.

Cortefiel officials could not be reached for comment.

Cortefiel's new owners - private equity firms CVC, PAI and Permira - have said that the company would launch 60 stores per year in Spain and Portugal starting February 2006.

If that strategy were pursued, Cortefiel would have 928 directly operated outlets. The company now has 617 of its own stores and 483 operated under franchises.

By Ivan Castano.