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Private equity firm Graphite eyes Joules

The former owner of footwear retailer Kurt Geiger is among several private equity firms thought to be eyeing lifestyle retailer Joules.

Graphite Capital, which sold Kurt Geiger for £215m to US footwear group Jones in June 2011, is said to be one of the private equity companies to have already been on tours of Joules stores, the Evening Standard reports.

Joules hired corporate advisory form Rothschild in November to advise on selling a minority stake in the business to raise funds for expansion in the UK and overseas.

Joules reported pre-tax profits of £1.15m in the year to May 27, 2012 following a loss of £535,000 the previous year.

This year the retailer is thought to be targeting underlying profits of around £7m this year, which would value the business at £49m.

The business, which is also a wholesale brand, has international franchise stores in Sweden and France and is thought to be considering other territories such as the US and Asia.

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