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Boden plans German book to test European potential

Home shopping retailer Boden is to test the European market this autumn by sending 125,000 womenswear catalogues to Germany.

The move is part of the retailer's strategy to grow the business internationally, having first expanded into the US in 2002.

The 196-page catalogue, which targets female customers aged between 30 and 50, will be sent at the end of August and throughout September.

Boden marketing director Mark Binnington, who also heads the retailer's international business, said the company had compiled a mailing list with the help of a consultancy firm. "Germany is the biggest mail order market in Europe and the feedback we've had is that our product will sell well there," he said.

He added that German and UK women shared a similar taste in fashion. "German women buy into the quality we offer, but only time will tell whether they buy into the quirkiness of Boden," he explained.

The German catalogue features almost all the same product range as the UK book, except for 12 different items.

Ordering will be handled by a third-party call centre, while shipping and fulfilment will be done from the UK.

A second womenswear catalogue for winter is due out in October and will be mailed to 150,000 potential customers in Germany. Kidswear and menswear catalogues could be rolled out next year.

Boden, which turned over £128.5 million in the year to December 31 2006, is launching a transactional website to complement the catalogue. Binnington said this will also give the retailer access to the rest of Europe.

The company already has an established business in the US, which now accounts for about 30% of the retailer's total £102m turnover. It launched in the US in 2002 in collaboration with a third-party operator, but is opening a 60,000 sq ft distribution, fulfilment and call centre in Pennsylvania next year as part of plans to expand in the US.

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