Sorbet Group CEO Ian Fuhr said the move into the UK market has been “a long time coming”.

“We understand from our suppliers currently active in the UK that the beauty market is highly fragmented and the opportunity exists to build a salon brand that offers customer convenience, service excellence and a consistent brand promise,” Fuhr said in a statement released on Monday.

The first salon, scheduled to open in July in Muswell Hill, London will be owned by the company and initially staffed with South Africans.

Plans are also afoot to open another two company-owned salons in the UK over the next year to test the business model before it considers introducing the franchise model to market.

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Fuhr said the company’s Sorbet-branded product range has yet to be tested and approved by the UK regulatory board and won’t be sold in-store initially.

Established a decade ago, the franchise has 126 franchised salons across the country and Fuhr is optimistic that the team can achieve similar success internationally.

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“We aim to do for the UK as we have done for South Africa, to continue delivering a feeling of self-confidence and delight amongst our guests,” said Jade Kirkel, Sorbet group marketing manager.

“We are also investigating potential local partnerships and investors for the next international step, which is likely to be in Dubai.”