Footwear chain Dune is to ramp up its overseas expansion with a target of 50 shops outside the UK within the next five years.

The retailer, which has 43 stores in the UK and Ireland, is eyeing markets including the Middle East, Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Australia. It has one store in Russia and 12 in the Middle East at present.

Dune has appointed former Shoe Studio chief operating officer John Egan to take over as chief executive and he will play a key role in the overseas push. Chief executive and founder Daniel Rubin will become executive chairman.

Rubin said: “We have been very successful internationally and John can really help us in this area.”

He said Australia will be the first new market Dune will enter and the retailer will also consider opening company-owned stores in Europe and the US. “We have looked at entering the US before, but we have put the plans on hold due to bad timing,” said Rubin. “However, we are hoping to enter that market in the next 18 months to two years.”

Despite footwear suffering from the economic downturn, with both Dolcis and Stead & Simpson falling into administration, Rubin said Dune has fared well. “March and April were tough, but we were up 6 per cent like for like in June,” he said. He added that the retailer’s online operation is growing, with sales up 100 per cent year on year.

In the UK, Dune will open two stores this September in Westfield London and Liverpool One. The stores will feature the retailer’s latest shopfit, which is less feminine than previous designs, to push mens lines. Rubin said he also wants to relocate some of Dune’s smaller stores to larger locations to incorporate bigger mens and accessories areas.

Egan will take up his post at Dune on September 8.