Towering heels, celebrity endorsements and midnight shopping helped footwear retailer Kurt Geiger to grow operating profits 21% to £11.5m in the year to January 31, but the footwear retailer has played down sale rumours.
Turnover grew 17% to £163m over the period as Kurt Geiger opened 12 new standalones worldwide, bringing its total to 63. Like-for-like sales increased 8%.
Chief executive Neil Clifford told the Times that Graphite Capital, the private equity firm which in 2008 backed a £95m management buyout of Kurt Geiger, was not planning to sell the business - despite speculation to the contrary.
The retailer attributed the strong growth in operating profit and like-for-like sales to its statement shoe offer and the trend for very high heels.
“A popular personality wearing the best statement shoe in the media translates into immediate sales,” said Rebecca Farrar-Hockley, buying and creative director at Kurt Geiger.
Kurt Geiger increases retail prices by 20% for every additional centimetre of heel. Celebrity fans of its shoes include singers Katy Perry and Cheryl Cole.
Kurt Geiger, which was the subject of a management buyout in 2008, led by private equity company Graphite Capital, also revealed plans to open a further five stores before Christmas and around 40 stores in the UK over the next five years.
Its current store portfolio comprises 43 standalones in the UK, 10 in the Middle East and 10 in mainland Europe. It also operates 112 concessions in a number of premium department stores and department store chains including Selfridges, Liberty, Harrods and Debenhams.
“This year we employed 275 new people across the company,” said chief executive Neil Clifford. “That’s one of the things we are most proud of, especially in this economic environment.”
Sales in Kurt Geiger’s concessions in premium London department stores Harrods, Liberty and Selfridges were particularly strong, the retailer added. Its average selling price for a pair of shoes in the capital was £230 compared to £180 elsewhere.