Upmarket jeweller Theo Fennell wants to double international sales in its current financial year and is seeking a new boss to drive strategy.

Founder and interim managing director Theo Fennell said overseas sales account for under 10% of its total sales, but he expected them to reach between 15-20% by the end of its financial year.

He also said he wanted overseas sales to overtake UK sales in the next five years. He declined to give exact sales figures.

He said he is seeking a replacement for Barbara Snoad, who stood down last month, with international experience. He said: “As we look to expand, the skills we’re looking for in a managing director could change. International experience could be very important, depending on how important abroad is for us.”

Theo Fennell’s overseas expansion would be on a wholesale basis, and it is in discussions with retailers in China and the US.

Fennell said the jeweller still had a big following in the US, which it exited 10 years ago, and was keen to re-enter the country. It is in talks with several independent retailers.

In China is it more likely to sell via multiple retailers. Fennell said its popularity in the UK with Chinese tourists encouraged the jeweller to expand into China.

Fennell claimed international growth would pull the retailer back into the black in its current financial year. For the year ending March 31, pre-tax losses rose from £350,000 to £550,000, and turnover was flat at £12.5m.

Retail sales were up 15% in the first 12 weeks of its financial year beginning April.

The jeweller, which secured a £1.5m fundraising in April 2010 for store refurbishments and a website relaunch, said it remained in the red because more investment  than expected was needed.

Fennell said the business was more “damaged” than he previously thought and “we had to spend more money than we expected”.