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Liberty to expand overseas before launching IPO

Liberty plans to break into international markets by selling its own label through department stores in the US and Italy, ahead of a planned float on the London Stock Exchange in 2018.

Italian department store La Rinascente in Milan will host a pop-up for Liberty London, the retailer’s handbag and accessories range, from this autumn.

Pop-up shops featuring Flowers of Liberty homewares will open in six of Nordstrom’s US stores, including New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Washington, from next month. A deal with a second US department store is also on the cards.

Both La Rinascente and Nordstrom will stock Liberty’s products online.

The expansion is intended to underpin a planned IPO in 2018, which would take Liberty back into public ownership. The company was bought by London-based private equity firm BlueGem for £32m in 2010.

For the year to December 31, 2014, profits rose to £21.5m from £18m the year before and sales climbed to £132m from £123m. In 2015, Liberty is aiming for sales close to £155m.

Liberty has announced it will collaborate with the London College of Fashion on a new set of awards for its undergraduate fashion design technology, fashion jewellery and print textiles students.  

The four winners of the Liberty Fashion Matters Awards will be announced at the start of the new academic year in October. They will receive £5,000 each and a postgraduate internship at Liberty.

Ed Burstell, Liberty managing director and practitioner-in-residence for the Fashion Programme in LCF’s School of Design and Technology, and Tess Birch, Liberty’s head of design, will present the awards.

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