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Dune Group ups its global ambitions

The Dune Group has stepped up its overseas expansion plans to target 250 Dune stores outside of the UK.

The footwear retailer wants to hit 250 stores by 2015, up from the 150 stores it had previously targeted. Some 50 will be wholly-owned stores, while 200 will be franchise stores.

The Dune Group, which has 200 stores in the UK, has about 30 international stores, including in Russia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Libya and Malta, which account for about 5% of total sales. The group also plans to enter Australia and the US at a later date.

To improve communication in its stores around the world, The Dune Group will introduce an international trading platform that aims to give customers a consistent shopping experience in every territory. Supplied by software provider Concrete, the platform will replace the retailer’s current system of emails, faxes and spreadsheets to allow it to communicate instantly with staff.

The Dune Group head of IT Venn Luscombe-Mahoney said visual merchandising images would be uploaded to the system so international stores could use the same point-of-sale material, signage and fitting to ensure consistency.

Only four months ago, The Dune Group said it would grow its overseas presence by at least six times by 2015, when it expects overseas operations to account for 20% of total sales. The revised store numbers would push that number significantly higher.

The footwear business, which comprises the Dune chain and the former Shoe Studio labels, including Pied a Terre and Bertie, sells the Dune range overseas.

In the year to January 30, 2010, 10 months after it rescued footwear concessions business Shoe Studio Group from administration, operating profit at The Dune Group rocketed 630% to £7.3m.

The acquisition also bolstered turnover by 175%, giving the group sales of £132.3m over the period, up from £48m before the deal.

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