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Agent Provocateur in expansion push

Luxury lingerie retailer Agent Provocateur will move into a number of new markets this year after its sales increased by 30% to just under £30 million for the year to March 2009.

Chief executive Garry Hogarth told Drapers he was looking to open between seven and eight stores this year in Eastern European, Russia and Switzerland, as well as launching in the Netherlands.

The business already has 32 shops overseas.Hogarth said about 60% of Agent Provocateur’s total sales come from international markets, compared with 40% of sales from the domestic UK market, where it has 12 stores and concessions.

However, he added that the ratio would continue to tip further towards overseas markets. The retailer plans to have 100 stores within four years.

Agent Provocateur will also expand into new categories this year, with the launch of a footwear range designed in-house in September and a handbag collection later in the year.

Hogarth said: “We are looking at four to five styles of footwear. We want them to be edgy, sexy and classic, not on-trend fashion. Where would you go at the moment for the perfect, sexy, thigh-high boot?”

The company, which is majority-owned by private equity firm 3i, is also looking at further licensing opportunities for 2010 following the success of its Agent Provocateur perfume ranges. The licences will include a sunglasses licence and a homeware and bed linen licence.

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