Bumper profits for Reiss as overseas push begins

Fashion retailer Reiss has doubled profits on the back of expansion and the success of its womenswear ranges, paving the way for international growth.

In the year to January 31, operating profits came to£4.5 million compared with£2.1 million the previous year. Pre-tax profits, which included a one-off exceptional cost of£1 million because of the relocation of stores, came to£2.6 million - up from£1.8 million last year. Sales surged to£28.7 million from£20.9 million last year.

Reiss finance director Steven Downes said improved marketing, more 'aspirational' menswear and the successful integration of womenswear, launched in 2000, had driven profits.

Reiss is kicking off its international expansion next spring with a 5,000 sq ft (465 sq m) store in New York's SoHo district. 'If it works in New York, there is potential for more than 100 stores in the US,' said Downes. The 29-strong chain is also investigating the Middle East and Japan for possible expansion.

Back on home turf, Reiss is continuing its strategy of relocating smaller stores to larger premises in order to better display menswear and womenswear.

Six new stores and two concessions, including one at Harvey Nichols in London's Knightsbridge, are planned for this year. Downes said there was potential for 40 to 50 stores in the UK.

Licensing products outside Reiss's core clothing specialism, such as eyewear and leather goods, is another growth area, said Downes.