Tie Rack expands in Japan

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Tie Rack is expanding its Asia Pacific operations by forming a 50-50 joint venture in Japan with Fujita, which owns 50 per cent of McDonalds Japan and through this 20 per cent of Toys R Us Japan.

Roy Bishko, chairman, whoyesterday announced an increase in Tie Rack's annual taxable profits from pounds 7.93m to pounds 8.79m, said: "Japan is potentially a major market for Tie Rack and one in which we wanted a direct involvementthrough a joint venture."

While the link with Fujita was announced yesterday, operations with the Japanese company started in July 1995 and there were 11 shops by the time the joint venture was established two months ago.

"Initial trading has been encouraging but this is a very expensive market in which to operate and we do not expect significant returns in the short term," said Mr Bishko.

On group trading, Mr Bishko said the first two months of 1997 had been generally satisfactory "although the pressure on overseas earnings experienced in the final quarter of the last financial year caused by the substantial appreciation of sterling has continued".

He expected shop numbers to grow by around 10 per cent this year with the growth arising predominantly overseas.