Smiggle has hatched plans to expand its European business next year as the UK becomes the kid’s stationery retailer’s largest market.

The Australia-based firm, which debuted in the UK in February 2014, hopes to open between 40 and 50 stores in the Netherlands and Belgium over the next four to five years.

Smiggle has already opened more than 100 stores in the UK, and two in the Republic of Ireland, taking its worldwide portfolio to 300.

Full-year results from its parent company Premier Investments Limited said Smiggle achieved global sales of £140.4m in the year to July 30, 2017 – a 29% jump year-on-year.

It said sales growth was underpinned by both new stores and strong like-for-likes.

Over 60% of Smiggle’s sales came from outside Australia.

The brand’s performance has given management confidence, it said, to confirm the opening of between 100 and 120 new stores in existing markets during the next two years. 

Smiggle managing director John Cheston said: “Smiggle has become a truly unique, highly profitable global brand, and is quickly being recognised as a new and leading retail concept in all of its new markets.

“We are very excited to have a pipeline of an additional 100-120 new stores in existing markets over the next two years, a rapidly growing Smiggle online business in both the UK and Australia and today’s announcement of the opening of our first stores in continental Europe in [the calendar year 2018].

“We continue to investigate new high-value countries of size and scale.”