Rugby brand and retailer Canterbury plans to open between three and six more stores in this country and Ireland during 2009.

The retailer debuted in the UK last year with a store in Westfield London, followed by an outlet store in Portsmouth's Gunwharf Quays.

A spokesman for the retailer said that trade in the UK stores had been “better than expected given the current economic climate”.

Canterbury also operates in the UK from department store shop-in-shops, at stores including House of Fraser and Harrods.

Plans are also in place to set up a retail operation in France in 2010, athough details have yet to be confirmed. The Southern Hemisphere retailer already has 20 stores in Australia and New Zealand and 20 own-brand branches in Japan. It is also in negotiations to open a store in Manhattan, and already has two stores in the US, in Pennsylvania and Florida.