History

Melon Fashion Group traces its origin back to Leningrad of 1926, when a handicraft school for girls opened in 1880 was converted into a manufacture of women's clothing and obtained the name of Muntsenberg. 13 years later the manufacture was renamed the “State Leningrad sewing factory "Pervomayskaya", and in 1964 it got the name "Pervomayskaya Zarya".

In 1990, the factory was rented out to its workers and employees, and in 1991 the personnel became stockholders of the newly-established closed joint-stock company (ZAO) Pervomayskaya Zarya. In a few years there were three Zarina shops in St Petersburg, thus starting the new retail chain under this name. In 2002, the logo was modernized, and since then it has become ZARINA.

In 1996, ZAO Pervomayskaya Zarya sold part of its shares to AB Kurt Kellermann, Sweden. Since 2002 the management of the Company has started attracting investments in the business. It was then that befree retail chain began to unroll.

In 2005, the Company diversified the business and established Melon Fashion Group as a fashion company, its subsidiaries being Zarina (closed joint-stock company) and Kurt Kellermann St Petersburg Ltd.

During 2006 the Company synchronized all business processes and formed a young ambitious team. In 2008, the Company adopted the plan of active expansion all over Russia. In the same year, a fashion brand named TAXI was acquired; it was rebranded in LOVE REPUBLIC in 2009. In May 2010, the Company closed the deal of acquisition of master franchise to SPRINGFIELD, Women'Secret and accessories chain Colours&Beauty, this last one was rebranded in co&beauty. Melon Fashion Group obtained the right to present these brands on Russian and Ukrainian markets operating them both, independently and under sub-franchising. Another part of the acquisition was 68 sales points in Russia and 30 in Ukraine.

In 2012, the Board of Directors decided to stop developing a separate accessories retail chain,  sell the stores of this brand, and to  offer accessories within the existing fashion brands in the Group's portfolio. 

In spring 2013, Melon Fashion Group closed the deal with Cortefiel Group (Spain) selling them back Springfield and women’secret. Cortefiel Group, the owner of the brands, expressed their wish to develop the business in Russia on their own as the market in this country looked very attractive to them. To take advantage of the market situation, Melon Fashion Group decided to focus on development of own brands: befree, ZARINA and LOVE REPUBLIC. 

As of September 1, 2016, the Group operates 578 stores: 548 in Russia (432 of them belong to the Company's on retail, 116 are franchisees), 12 operate in Ukraine, 11 operate in Kazakhstan, 5 operate in Belarus, 1 operates in Armenia, another one is open in Georgia.