By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated December 18, 2002 01:20 PM

Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs is looking to expand his fashion empire by going retail with his Sean John label, opening boutiques in malls nationwide and a flagship store in Manhattan, the New York Post reports.

“We desperately want to have a store open by March or April,” the label’s executive vice president, Jeffrey Tweedy, tells the paper.

Besides a New York store in the 2,300 square-feet to 3,000 square-feet range, “We’re looking at some malls,” says Tweedy. “Lennox Square in Atlanta, Short Hills (New Jersey) and the Beverly Center (in West Hollywood, Calif.). We want to be in the retail business where we can be profitable. Malls welcome new excitement.

“We want it to be small and profitable,” Tweedy adds.

Since rap entrepreneur Combs, 33, launched Sean John in 2000, the line has been in hot demand, starting with strong support from Bloomingdale’s department store, says the Post.

For the past three years, Combs also has been nominated for the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards, considered that industry’s Oscars.