The move comes after the France-based company reported strong half-year sales and profit growth. Net sales rose 8.4 per cent to €20.9m for the first half of 2007, compared to the same period last year, and operating margins increased 2.4 percentage points to 16.7 per cent, taking operating profit up 26.4 per cent to €3.5m. Ulric de Varens intends to use its strong financial base to exploit the commercial gap it sees between expensive perfumeries and supermarkets, where it considers that opportunities for brand development are limited. Starting with the opening of five pilot shops by the end of the year, Ulric de Varens plans to launch a network of perfumeries selling its own brands. The project will be expanded in France and abroad if it proves to financially viable. The company claims that the shops will be 'engaging and innovative' alternatives to traditional perfumeries, offering perfumes at reasonable prices along with pleasure products for impulse buyers To make the perfumery project feasible, Ulric de Varens will be launching new perfume ranges, including the 'Varens Original' name. The new shops will contain between 250 and 300 products including, among tradional perfumes, children's fragrances, scented bath products, and a small make-up selection. "Ulric de Varens is to create, as of 2008, its own network of boutiques, to become a major player in selective perfumery, in addition to its traditional sales network," said CEO Ulric Viellard. The company expects strong growth over the remainder of 2007 and has already announced that July was a good month, with sales increasing 25 per cent over last year.