Eyes up new outlets in Spain, Greece, Brazil.

Fnac, France's largest specialist retailer, is accelerating its worldwide expansion.

The Paris-based chain, which has a presence in seven countries outside France, is to open its 6th Brazilian store in the country's capital Brasilia on July 6. It says it will also open its 10th and 11th Spanish stores late this year and early 2005, both in Madrid. Outside of France, Spain is Fnac's most important market.

Fnac will also launch two stores in Greece -- Athens and Thessaloniki -- through a 50-50 partnership with local retailer Marinopoulos. Details of the new venture have not been disclosed.

According to Fnac, overseas sales should account for 23% of group revenues this year. In 2003, overseas sales contributed 21.5% to the group's €3.8 billion ($4.6 billion) revenues. About 25% of FNAC's revenues come from the sale of recorded music. FNAC accounts for 25.2% of record sales in France, according to research company Gfk.

The aim of the expansion, says Fnac CEO Denis Olivennes, is to "reach critical mass" in each of the chain's foreign territories. In 2003, the chain comprised 67 stores in France and 41 abroad. The group also has stores in Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Taiwan and Switzerland.

Fnac began its foreign foray in 1981, with the opening of a store in Belgium. Its first step outside French-speaking territories came in 1993, when it opened a store in Madrid.

Looking ahead, Fnac says it plans to either expand existing stores or create new ones in other territories in which it is already present, such as Italy. Fnac is part of giant retail group Pinault - Printemps - Redoute.

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