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Karen Millen eyes major international expansion

Premium womenswear chain Karen Millen is gearing up for further overseas expansion which it hopes will double group sales over the next five years.

Karen Millen’s international division accounts for about half of the firm’s £250m turnover but according to reports in the Mail on Sunday the proposed expansion plans would see the international division becoming larger than the British business.

As part of the plans Karen Millen will open more company-owned stores on the Continent, with a particular focus on Germany, France and Spain. The first Karen Millen store in France is due to open in Paris next month and ten key cities have already been identified in Germany where the business already has three stores.

New store openings on the Continent will then be followed by the opening of new outlets in key growth areas such as China and South Korea.

Joint managing director Gemma Metheringham said: “There are Karen Millen customers in every big city. We have done a lot of research in Europe, from which towns we want to be in, which street, even down to which of our competitors we want to be next to.”

Karen Millen was split off from its parent company Aurora in March this year because its global expansion plans “mean its funding requirements are different to the rest of the group”.

Both Karen Millen and Aurora remain 90% owned by nationalised Icelandic bank Kaupthing, with the remainder held by management.

Karen Millen operates in 40 countries around the world, with global retail sales of around £250m and over 1,800 employees.

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