Dune predicts overseas growth will outpace UK

Shoe specialist Dune has established an international subsidiary and believes its overseas operations could become bigger than its UK retail business within two to three years.

Dune has appointed former Nine West and Dr Martens director Kim Thonger as managing director of the new company, which will hire more people as it grows.

Thonger said there are opportunities for the brand abroad, in markets including the US, Fast East, South Africa and Australia.

The retailer already has seven franchised stores in the Middle East - in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait - and will open more by the end of this year.

He said the international business could grow to about 200 stores and concessions in the medium term, and outgrow the UK business within two to three years. 'Once you get a formula right and have found the right partner, you can roll out the stores very quickly. We have got a very solid retail format in the UK and want to start to licence the stores and the product overseas,' he said.

Separately, former Mexx retail director Steve Acquari joined Dune as retail operations director of the UK business last month.

In Britain, Dune has 25 shops. Like-for-like sales last year rose 19 per cent and are up by a similar percentage this year, according to Thonger.

Dune is part of Browning Enterprises Group, which also designs and imports fashion footwear in the UK. Last year its turnover amounted to approximately US$100 million (£64.4 million).