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Following Record December Profits, Kurt Geiger Says Handbags Are Driving U.S. Growth

Kurt Geiger is touting its most profitable month yet, which it says was largely driven by strong handbag sales in the U.S.

The UK-based footwear and accessories brand said December 2023 sales increased 15 percent to 45 million pounds compared to the same month in 2022, making it the most profitable month in the company’s history. Store sales in the UK were up by 12 percent, with digital sales up 45 percent driven by handbags and accessories.

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December’s record results were largely driven by sales in the U.S., which increased 60 percent during the month. The U.S. has become Kurt Geiger’s largest market — and handbags are its best-selling category there. Handbags represent 50 percent of sales in the UK. Kurt Geiger said its handbags, the average cost of which are 250 pounds each, have seen strong demand due to a shift towards “affordable luxury.”

“Handbags and accessories continue to underpin our robust sales, and combined with a growing celebrity following, we are very well positioned to continue our profitable growth trajectory in 2024,” Neil Clifford, chief executive officer of Kurt Geiger, said in a statement.

In October, Kurt Geiger reported that net sales were up 31 percent to 329.5 million pounds in the 12 months ended in January 2023. Kurt Geiger also saw a 49 percent increase in EBITDA to 30 million pounds in the period. U.S. sales grew 171 percent and overall handbag sales rose to 91.6 million pounds.

The company said its record December spurred it to make a 1 million pound donation to its philanthropic Kurt Geiger Kindness Foundation, which helps young people across all backgrounds secure a future in creative industries. As part of this donation, the company launched its “Business By Design” educational program that encourages talent from underrepresented groups. Following their graduation from the program, one member of the class will be offered a job at Kurt Geiger for one year.

Kurt Geiger opened its first boutique on Bond Street in London in 1963. The business today comprises of over 74 standalone shops across the UK, including eight new stores that opened in 2023. It heralded a new phase of expansion in September when it opened a new 2,916-sq.-ft. store on London’s Oxford Street. At the time of the opening, the company said it marked the first step in a major retail rollout that will see it open nine stores in North America in the coming year.

“We have been beyond humbled by the success of our new Oxford Street store,” Clifford said. “Our flagship brings our brand and vision to life better than I could have ever hoped for.”

In addition to its namesake brand, Kurt Geiger operates shoe departments in Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty. Kurt Geiger said it plans to open five more stores in the U.S. in 2024.

Following a 41 percent sales growth in EMEA in 2023, the company plans to open more Kurt Geiger stores across several European cities across a two year period, starting with potentially Athens, Rome, Milan, Barcelona and Madrid, followed by Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and Munich. The company also plans to open new stores in Dubai and Saudi Arabia.

In the Americas, the company plans to expand its three-store presence in Mexico with an additional three stores. Digital sales in Mexico grew 71 percent in 2023.

“These results underline Kurt Geiger’s transformation over the last decade from a predominantly UK shoe brand to what it is today; a global accessories brand with a cult following in both the US and UK,” Clifford said.

According to prior reports, Kurt Geiger’s private equity parent company Cinven, is in talks with advisers at Bank of America to explore a possible auction of the brand. A sale process is expected to begin in the coming months, with interest anticipated from luxury goods groups and other buyout firms, Sky News reported in October.

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