Medium-sized US retailers are turning up the heat on international ambitions, despite the apparent reluctance of US retail giants to take the plunge.

At the Goldman Sachs conference in New York last week, Limited Brands - which owns Victoria’s Secret among other labels - and books specialist Borders flagged up their overseas aspirations.

Borders chairman, president and chief executive officer Greg Josefowicz said: ‘We are encouraged by the progress we have made internationally.’ He said he was eying more opportunities ‘for growth in new countries’, preferably via a ‘risk-mitigated, partner-reliant method’.

Limited Brands chief operating officer and vice-president Len Schlesinger said: ‘We have relaxed our historic prohibition on expansion outside the US.’