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Lee Cooper maps out overseas expansion strategy

Europe’s oldest denim brand, Lee Cooper, is plotting major trading growth after kicking off global retail and European wholesale expansion plans.

Chief executive Andy Dunkley said the business’s retail sales in conjunction with global partners are at €300m (£251m), but he wants this to reach €500m (£419m) by 2015. The brand’s overall profits for the past two years have grown more than 20% year on year, according to Dunkley.

Last month, Lee Cooper signed a licensing partnership with German textile business Beko Jeans & Fashions to establish a wholesale operation in Germany and the Netherlands, with the aim of acquiring up to 100 stockists by the end of this year.

Following 50 openings in countries including Romania, Turkey, China and Taiwan last year, Dunkley wants to take the global number of stores to 1,000 by 2012.

Six stores in Moscow shopping malls are planned for this year, with the aim of increasing this to 30 in Russia by 2014.

Expansion in Europe will be more cautious, said Dunkley. Establishing the wholesale business will lay the foundations for retail in the region.

He said: “It’s really about establishing the brand there. We’ll start off getting awareness, get into department stores and see what the reaction is. We’ll see how things develop over the next 12 months and then look at retail.”

Lee Cooper has also launched an underwear range, Body, and a swimwear line, Beach. These add another layer to the men’s and women’s lifestyle offers, Dunkley said.

The brand was founded in 1908 by Morris Cooper in London’s East End, and has a history of collaborations with famous bands such as the Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Readers' comments (2)

  • I love buying Lee Cooper T's from Sports Direct for £1.59 and Jeans for £5 - £8.

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  • The Lee Cooper brand in the U.K has been run into the ground. If it was any cheaper, they would pay you to take it away. Shame.

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