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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
News
i100
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Sport
Lionel Messi looks on at the end of the final
football
Extras
indybest
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Graduate / Trainee Recruitment Consultant - IT

£25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Orgtel are seeking Graduate Trainee Re...

HR Business Partner - Banking Finance - Brentwood - £45K

£45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: ** HR Business Partner - Senior H...

PA / Team Secretary - Wimbledon

£28000 - £32000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: PA / Team Secretary - Mat...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on