Freeport sets sights on expansion

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The Independent Online

Freeport, the builder and operator of factory outlet retail villages, set its sights on further expansion at home and abroad yesterday as it unveiled a sharp rise in pre-tax profits.

Freeport, the builder and operator of factory outlet retail villages, set its sights on further expansion at home and abroad yesterday as it unveiled a sharp rise in pre-tax profits.

Sean Collidge, chief executive, said the group's format of developing centres for the sale of discounted, branded products struck a chord with increasingly cost-conscious consumers.

Mr Collidge said he was targeting 10 retail villages across Britain, up from the six that are currently in operation or being built. The group was also seeking to beef up its overseas centres, in addition to projectsplanned for Lisbon, Portugal, and Gothenburg in Sweden.

Freeport's developments consist of out-of-town centres of 80 to 100 units, from which manufacturers such as Versace and Tommy Hilfiger sell direct to the public. The rents are linked Freeport's clients' turnover.

In the year to 24 June, Freeport recorded pre-tax profits of £8.3m, a 62 per cent gain on the year-ago period. Turnover rose 86 per cent to £14m.

The company said that over the next two years it would add 1.4 million square feet, more than doubling its retail space.

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