British high street footwear retailer LK Bennett is to open its first store in China this year. The chain, best known for its nude platform pumps worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, is "looking very closely” at opportunities in China and the first dealcould be signed as soon as this summer, a spokesman told The Mail on Sunday.
As well as China, the 160-store retailer is opening stores in the US, mainland Europe and in the Middle East as it seeks to expand its international business.
LK Bennett has invested “heavily” in its new US website, which went online this spring. The retailer will focus on building its online presence as it expands internationally rather than opening lots of bricks-and-mortar shops.
Online presence is also a key focus
LK Bennett currently operates 161 location, of which over 100 are based in the UK. Overseas revenues grew 65 percent to 20 million pounds last year and now account for more than a fifth of sales.
In 2007, Bennett sold 70 percent of the business to private equity groups Phoenix Equity Partners and Sirius Equity.
"The perception of the brand continues to build around the world and that has strengthened our position,” a spokesman said. “Asia is clearly an untapped opportunity and the potential for us could be enormous.”
Sales increased 15 percent to 94 million pounds in the year to July 2012 while profit before charges rose 37 percent to 11 million pounds.
Image: LK Bennett