Kurt Geiger to march into US after £215m deal

The upmarket shoe retailer Kurt Geiger is to embark on an opening offensive in the US over the next 18 months after it was acquired by the retail giant Jones Group from Graphite Capital, in a deal worth £215m.

Kurt Geiger, which sells more than 100 brands from Gucci to Ugg, as well as its own-brand shoes, also intends to use the retail network of its new owner to launch in Asia.

Neil Clifford, the chief executive of Kurt Geiger, said: "America, in particular, is something we are very excited about in terms of opening stores in the major cities of the US in the next 12 to 18 months. I would be disappointed if it was not next year."

He said: "The American market is a tough market to crack if you do it on your own. So to have a bit of a grown-up uncle to do that is a good thing."

UK retailers from Marks & Spencer to Sainsbury's have failed in the US, while Tesco's Fresh & Easy chain suffered losses of £186m there last year.

Mr Clifford declined to name the Asian cities it would target, but Kurt Geiger said Asian shoppers in its London outlets had helped reduce the average size of the women's shoes it sells to 5 from 6.5 18 months ago.

Mr Clifford said the retailer had been working on the deal with Jones for almost two years, since it became the UK distribution partner for the US group's Nine West shoe brand.

Kurt Geiger – which has 49 company-owned shops and 156 concessions, in stores such as Harrods and Selfridges – grew sales by 22 per cent to £205m for the year to 30 April. It was boosted by "double-digit" like-for-like sales growth. Kurt Geiger launched overseas in 2005 with a concession in Printemps in Paris, and now sells through franchise partners in the Gulf, Russia and Turkey.

The transaction is a major coup for Graphite Capital, which backed a £95m management buyout of Kurt Geiger in February 2008. This came after Barclays Private Equity had funded an MBO for £46m in 2005.

Mr Clifford said that although it had had an "incredible journey with private equity", it had wanted to "park the company" with a more long-term partner. "You are looking over your shoulder every three years. There comes a point when you don't want to put the company at further risk with debt and levels of investment."

Jones Group is a retailer, designer and wholesaler of more than 35 brands, including Nine West, Jones New York, Easy Spirit and Gloria Vanderbilt. The group, which has five divisions – apparel, footwear, jeanswear, jewellery and handbags – increased revenues by 8 per cent to $961m (£588m) for the quarter to 2 April.

It will retain Kurt Geiger's team, including Mr Clifford, Rebecca Farrar Hockley, its buying and creative director, and Dale Christilaw, the finance director. After Graphite sold its 72 per cent stake in the business, Mr Clifford said: "They [Graphite] have taken their money and run but we have invested significantly."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: £20000 - £25000 per annum + c...

Recruitment Genius: Account Handler - Personal Lines

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of insurance and financial...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Developer / IT Support Engineer

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing financial ser...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Day In a Page

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food