French Connection will launch its first overseas website this year as it aims to grow its international business.

The fashion retailer plans to open three websites this year, targeting Germany as the first location.

French Connection chairman and chief executive Stephen Marks told Retail Week: “We’re not in Europe in a big way and we’re looking to open own-language sites.”

French Connection’s online business grew 8% in the year to January 31 and now represents 20% of its group retail sales.

It comes as the retailer posted narrowed operating losses to £4.4m from £7.2m last year.

French Connection chairman and chief executive Stephen Marks said: “It’s all down to the product and we’ve worked hard. We’ve got a new design team in. They have a different point of view that is younger and they have brought in fresh ideas and just really great design.”

French Connection embarked on a three-year turnaround plan in 2012 and expects to return to profit next year.

The retailer closed nine stores last year, including the Birmingham Bullring store, and intends to close three to five more this year. French Connection has been attempting to close 15 loss-making stores for the last two years.

“Landlords are quite tricky to negotiate with when you have money in the bank. We are working our way through them steadily.

“[Closing the stores] would put the retail division back into profit.”

Marks added that French Connection, which has 70 stores, plans to start opening stores in the UK from September but declined to give more information.

French Connection said the business in Hong Kong and China has been trading well and it will open four more stores this year.