Investor Manzanita Capital is understood to have acquired a stake in Space NK, the cosmetics retailer founded by entrepreneur Nicky Kinnaird.
According to industry sources, Manzanita is linked to Gap's founding Fisher family.
It is believed 10 stores will open this year, including one at the Duke of York scheme on London's King's Road.
Space NK has 30 'apothecary' outlets in the UK, including concessions in Harvey Nichols' Knightsbridge, Birmingham and Edinburgh stores.
The upmarket beauty specialist carries niche American and French brands not found in the average department store beauty hall.
Kinnaird used Space NK successfully to bring sought-after US brands to the UK. In turn, she has exported her Space NK Woman fragrance and bath and beauty lines to US department stores.
David Krantz stepped down as chief executive in November to pursue other interests and is now a non-executive director. Katherine Hood is acting chief executive.
In accounts filed at Companies House, Space UK pre-tax profits fell from£721,053 in 2001 to£552,738 in the year to March 30, 2002. However, sales jumped from£14.7 million to£18 million.
Retail Knowledge Bank director Robert Clark said: 'It may have reached a corporate plateau and found it difficult to expand without taking on board investment.'