Kurt Geiger to open flagship London store as sales step up

Kurt Geiger will add a London flagship store early next year to its growing empire of shoe shops around the world following a jump in sales boosted by its Bond & Britton heels and Saffiano handbags.

The British luxury brand, whose shoes are worn by stars including Beyoncé and Julia Roberts, reported a 13% increase in like-for-like sales for the third quarter, bucking a tough retail climate. Many clothes retailers have blamed the weather for sluggish sales, including Next, one of Britain’s most successful retailers.

Kurt Geiger, for its part, is expecting double digit sales growth for 2014 and “strong” underlying profits.

Alongside its Bond & Britton high heel court shoes, priced at £250 to £295 a pair, casual shoes such as slip-ons and flats are proving increasingly popular among customers. The firm has branched out into handbags and other accessories such as jewellery, and phone and tablet cases.

It credited the launch of the Saffiano leather range with a 50% rise in handbag sales so far this year – especially after British model and actor Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was seen carrying the red Saffiano bowling bag in Hollywood.

American actors Jon Hamm and Channing Tatum have been spotted wearing Kurt Geiger’s men’s collection.

The shoe retailer was bought out by its chief executive, Neil Clifford, and other managers in April with the backing of US private equity house Sycamore Partners, to which it had been sold as part of the Jones Group in a $1.2bn (£750m) deal.

Clifford talked of a “tremendous year” for Kurt Geiger. “Following our management buyout, the company’s new strategic direction has facilitated a renewed focus on growth and international expansion.” He said the company was trying to appeal to everyone, from Hollywood stars to fashion-aware shoppers. Its Shoeaholics website sells men’s boots from £29 and court and flat shoes from £19.

Like-for-like sales at the retailer are up 13% in the first seven months of this year, taking gross turnover to £210m, compared with £230m for the whole of last year. A fifth of sales are now made via the internet, following 30% online growth.

Kurt Geiger has opened 28 stores this year, including 20 in the UK and a flagship store in Milan, while franchise partners opened flagship stores in Thailand, Hong Kong, China and Singapore. It now has 59 independent shops worldwide and 198 department store concessions.

In the UK, a store in Bicester Village shopping centre is due to open in December, followed by a London flagship in the Oxford Street area early next year. It also runs multi-branded shoe departments in Selfridges and Liberty and opened Harrods Shoe Heaven in August, which stocks more than 50 brands including Manolo Blahnik, Saint Laurent and Valentino.

Kurt Geiger has made a three-year commitment to Cordwainers’ College at the London College of Fashion, which has trained shoemakers and leather workers since 1887 and produced designers such as Jimmy Choo and Charlotte Olympia.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Julia Kollewe, for The Guardian on Monday 10th November 2014 00.01 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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