Intres, a large-scale Dutch buying that deals with fashion, sporting goods, media and furniture, has confirmed a report that it intends to set up a new division for footwear. The company hopes to get started with at least 40 members specializing in fashion footwear at the beginning of 2007, followed by a group for family footwear in April.

At the same time, Intres will be offering a private label to be developed by its own strong design team, which has already experience in fashion clothing. Comprising men’s, women’s and children’s footwear, the private label range should eventually make up at least 30 percent of sales for the members of the new buying group.

The retail members are being recruited by Johan van Dalen, a consultant issued from the Van Dalen family, which has been involved in footwear for several decades, running a retail chain by the same name which became the property of the Ardenberg group earlier this year. He recently attempted to attract Dutch shoe retailers to G-Lord, the German buying group recently formed to act as a low-cost alternative to Garant Schuh + Mode.

About 60 retailers have voiced their interest so far. Under the guidelines drawn up by Van Dalen and Intres, the group’s members should be independent retailers with one or two stores. They should have a guarantee of exclusivity within their shopping district, meaning that there should be a distance of at least 15 kilometers between the members’ stores, and they should have the right to veto new members.

Supervised at Intres by Henk Havinga, managing director of the fashion division, the project will be fine-tuned after a presentation of the services offered by Intres in Nieuwegein next week. Intres is one of the largest buying organizations in the Netherlands, with sales of about €994 million last year and 1400 members running 2100 stores. Garant and Ariston-Nord-West-Ring both offer centralized settlements and other services to independent Dutch shoe retailers, in competition with some very strong local chains.