Kurt Geiger enjoys “tremendous” trading as handbags, online growth excels

UK-based fashion footwear retailer Kurt Geiger has bucked a tough retail climate reporting Sunday a double digit jump in Q3 and seven-month same-store sales, boosted by strong demand for handbags. The former Jones Group business also expects double digit sales growth for fiscal 2014 and “strong” underlying profits as the privately held retailer announced it will add a London flagship store on Oxford Street to its portfolio early next year.

The firm has enjoyed a 50% rise in handbag sales so far this year, mainly due to the launch of the Saffiano leather range and boosted further by celebrity endorsements from stars including Rosie Huntington–Whiteley, Beyoncé and Julia Roberts. The business has also added jewellery and smaller accessories such as phone and tablet cases to its offer.

Chief executive Neil Clifford described its trading year so far as “tremendous” 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.

Comp sales are up 13% in the quarter and first seven months to September 30, with revenues hitting £210m compared with £230m for the whole of fiscal 2013. Online sales have jumped 30% and now represent 20% of total sales.

Kurt Geiger also opened 28 stores this year, including 20 in the UK and a flagship in Milan, while franchise partners opened flagship stores in Thailand, Hong Kong, China and Singapore.

It now has 59 independent stores worldwide and 198 department store concessions, including Selfridges, Liberty and Harrods.

The retailer was bought out by Clifford and other managers in April with the backing of US private equity house Sycamore Partners, who had bought the business via its $2.2bn (£1.3bn) purchase of footwear group Jones Group in 2013.

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