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Cotton On in rapid expansion mode, on track for $2bn global sales

Australia family apparel retail giant Cotton On continues its fast-speed expansion in a bid to become a A$2bn-plus global business with overseas sales soon expected to outpace its domestic business.

Globally, the group plans to open 250 stores this financial year, mostly in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the ‘American sunbelt’, which have similar climates to Australia, the retailer said.

Meanwhile, Europe is also a target with its first brick-&-mortar store scheduled to open in the UK before Christmas, chief executive Peter Johnson said, without giving an exact location.

The store will initially carry youth-oriented stationery and accessories, while its online store will sell core clothing. “It’s one of the reasons we launched with Typo (its stationery and accessories brand) first in the UK, because we can understand a lot about the market without the added pressure of extreme winter in the apparel business,” he told Canberra Times.

He confirmed the group’s revenue from international ops and e-commerce channels would soon surpass what it earns in Australia, and that there would be greater opportunities throughout the rest of the world.

In Australia, Cotton On has also begun opening large-format multi-brand stores in CBD locations, putting it head-to-head with international giants including H&M, after the model’s success in places such as South Africa, where there are more than 170 stores.

Cotton On operates more than 1,400 stores in 18 countries, including around 778 in Australia via seven brands in fashion and accessories, including Cotton On, Rubi Shoes, T-bar and Supre.

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