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New owners task Kurt Geiger with Nine West push in Europe

Kurt Geiger will expand US-based footwear business Nine West in the UK and Europe following Kurt Geiger’s sale to Nine West parent company Jones Group.

Premium footwear business Kurt Geiger will continue to operate Nine West’s licensing and distribution in the UK following the £215m deal.

Kurt Geiger chief executive Neil Clifford said: “The weakest area for Nine West globally is Europe. That’s a big area for us to grow.”

Kurt Geiger, which runs one Nine West standalone store in Bluewater, Kent, will open three more in the UK over the next three months in Guildford, Westfield Stratford and central London. It was also set to launch a transactional website for Nine West at www.ninewest.co.uktoday.

Kurt Geiger will also relaunch its own website at www.kurtgeiger.com in September. It follows the launch of discount footwear site www.shoeaholics.com in May, which Clifford admitted was still a work in progress: “It is good but it is not brilliant and we want it to be brilliant.”

Following its sale to Jones Group, Kurt Geiger will serve as the group’s European hub as well as gaining a foothold in the US. There are also plans to expand Kurt Geiger in Asia. “I’ve always said we wanted a presence in the US but we needed a more grown-up uncle to help us do it,” said Clifford.

Jones Group chief executive Wesley R Card added that it would consider a UK and Europe-wide retail and wholesale push for some of its US brands.

Turnover at Kurt Geiger, which has 60 standalone stores worldwide excluding Nine West, rose 70% to £205m in the year to April 2011.

In the year to January 31, 2010, operating profits rose 21% to £11.5m.

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