Liz Claiborne seeks Euro chain

US fashion giant Liz Claiborne is on the hunt for acquisitions in Europe, including the UK.

The retailer, which owns a host of fashion chains and posted revenues of US$4.2 billion (£2.32 billion) last year, is looking for well-established businesses with sales of at least EUR100 million (£67 million).

Its European subsidiary, Mexx, which Liz Claiborne bought in 2001, is spearheading the acquisition push, as it embarks on a multi-brand strategy.

Mexx chief executive Rattan Chadha said: 'We want to do in Europe what Liz has done in the US. It has 32 brands in the US and made eight acquisitions in the past year. We want to follow a similar route in Europe.'

Without revealing targets, Mexx senior vice-president for retail Alphons Schouten added that buying a UK business was a possibility, but that it was not looking for a turnaround story.

Mexx hopes to snap up at least one business within a year and is looking at markets such as Italy, Spain and Eastern Europe.

The Liz Claiborne brand is also poised for growth in the UK. It recently hired Uli Trautmann from Tommy Hilfiger to head product design. Based at Mexx's new headquarters in Amsterdam, Trautmann will tweak the fashion offer to better cater for European tastes.

Separately, Schouten said Mexx is striving to improve its product offer and pricing strategy for the UK as it continues to expand here. There are seven stores, 99 concessions and 21 factory outlets.