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Office heads to US in Topshop tie-up

Footwear specialist Office is preparing to cross the pond as it fights back against the over-shopped UK high street.

Office chief executive Brian McCluskey has inked a deal to open an Office concession in the new Topshop store in New York when it opens later this year.

He has also earmarked possible standalone sites in the US, which could open in 2009.

McCluskey said that the concession in Topshop would be an ideal starting point for the Office brand to grow internationally.

He added: “Retail-wise, the UK is getting kind of full up and international growth is how to take your business to the next level. The Americans love London fashion.”

McCluskey said he was seeking a partner to run Office in the US and that target locations included Los Angles and the Eastern seaboard. Canada, and the city of Montreal in particular, are also on McCluskey’s overseas hit list

Sir Tom Hunter, who owns the Office chain via his West Coast Capital private equity firm, is understood to be part of a consortium eyeing Saks, the US department store chain. If a deal were to go through, Saks could provide Office with another route to the US market.

McCluskey said he would continue to open Office stores in the UK.

Office is expected to generate sales of more than £100 million this year. In 2007 it outstepped the rest of the footwear market as turnover surged by 33% to £92.7m. Operating profit rose 13% to £3.6m.

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