Maternity specialist Mamas & Papas is to launch in Japan after striking a distribution deal with local nursery goods group Pigeon Corporation.

The venture is targeting turnover of ¥2bn (£12.6m) and will go live next spring.

Mamas & Papas deputy chief executive Richard Faulkner said the Japanese deal would give the retailer access to a market where there are nearly 1 million births a year, offering “a significant international trading opportunity”.

He said: “This deal heralds the start of what will be a long and successful relationship, which we hope will develop and advance towards greater business opportunities in the Japanese market.”

The retailer already has 15 stores in the Middle East in partnership with Al Tayer Group and is gearing up for launch in Russia with FD Lab.

Mamas & Papas said it is achieving “buoyant sales” in its home UK market and will take its store count from 32 to 36 by the end of this year and aims to have 50 in this country within 18 months.