The £215m sale of Kurt Geiger to Jones Group is set to give the footwear retailer a step up in the US, while giving Jones greater access to the UK and European markets.
Kurt Geiger is expected to launch in the US next year. Chief executive Neil Clifford said the retailer has a “significant” US customer base through Harrods and its airport shops. He said: “Our success in Europe and the Middle East shows that what we create travels well. We think we are slightly different for the US market as we are European focused and European brands tend to do well over there. I also think our stores would stand out because they are slightly different to anything else that is already in the US.”
Kurt Geiger had an existing relationship with US designer brand Jones as it holds the UK license for its Nine West brand. It will ramp up expansion for Nine West in the next three months with shops in Guildford, Westfield Stratford and central London. Currently it has one standalone store in Bluewater. It was also due to launch a transactional website on June 10.
The deal was a coup for Graphite Capital, which backed a £95m management buyout of Kurt Geiger in February 2008. Since then the group’s turnover increased by over 70% to £205m to the end of April.
Graphite senior partner Andy Gray said: “We weren’t looking to sell, but Jones approached us directly as we already have a relationship with them, and they’re a great fit for Kurt Geiger. They know the management team and will help Kurt Geiger into the US, as well as gaining a foothold in the UK and Europe for themselves.”
Kurt Geiger will relaunch its website in September. It follows the launch of discount footwear site Shoeaholics.com in May, which Clifford said is a work in progress: “It is not brilliant and we want it to be brilliant.”