Kurt Geiger, the well-known retailer specializing in shoes and bags, has achieved a milestone by recording its most profitable month ever and experiencing a record-breaking Christmas trading period on a global scale. The brand has also witnessed remarkable growth in the North American market, with handbags emerging as its largest product category. In light of these exceptional results, Kurt Geiger has announced plans to invest more than £1 million in setting up ‘Business By Design’, an in-house academy dedicated to providing education and opportunities for underrepresented young people.
During December alone, Kurt Geiger’s total group sales increased by 15% compared to the previous year, reaching an impressive £45 million. Despite a challenging fashion sector in the UK, the brand saw a 12% rise in sales at its UK stores and an astonishing 45% surge in digital sales. The demand for handbags and accessories was the primary driver of this growth. For the financial year that ended in January 2023, the brand achieved a 31% increase in group turnover, amounting to £329.5 million, as well as a 49% rise in EBITDA, reaching £30 million. Notably, the US market witnessed a staggering 171% increase in sales during this period, contributing to handbag sales reaching a record high of £91.6 million.
The success of Kurt Geiger in the handbag category has transformed it from a retailer primarily focused on shoes to a specialist in footwear and accessories. Particularly in North America, the brand has become one of the fastest-growing names in accessories. Handbags now account for 50% of its sales, making it the brand’s best-selling category in both the US and the UK. With its leather bags priced at an average of £250, Kurt Geiger has established itself as a prominent name in accessible luxury bags, offering competitive prices compared to the eye-watering four-figure prices commonly found in the luxury bag market. The brand attributes its growth to the introduction of new larger shapes and sizes within its handbag range, with further developments planned for 2024.
Celebrity endorsement has played a significant role in accelerating Kurt Geiger’s growth, with high-profile figures such as Kylie Jenner, Julia Roberts, and Jennifer Lopez frequently seen carrying the brand. The US market, surpassing the UK as the brand’s largest market, has been particularly strong. Four years ago, Kurt Geiger entered North America and has recently opened successful stores in Mexico. Furthermore, the brand plans to open five more stores in the US this year. Despite its international expansion, Kurt Geiger has not neglected its domestic market, operating 74 standalone stores in the UK and two in Ireland. In 2023 alone, the brand opened eight new stores in the UK, including its flagship store on London’s renowned Oxford Street.
In addition to its remarkable business growth, Kurt Geiger has also made significant strides in social responsibility. Last year’s success led to a £1 million donation to the Kurt Geiger Kindness Foundation, an organization dedicated to removing barriers for young people and providing them with opportunities, support, and tools to enter the creative industries. This week, Kurt Geiger launched the Business By Design academy, a seven-month innovative learning program that is offered free of charge. The academy aims to provide learning opportunities for young talent from marginalized communities, offering education across all areas of the Kurt Geiger and creative business. The program includes masterclasses, practical skill sessions, and paid work experience, with mentorship provided by experienced Kurt Geiger team members. The inaugural cohort consists of 22 students aged 18-20 who will learn directly from the individuals who built the Kurt Geiger business.
Neil Clifford, CEO of Kurt Geiger, expressed confidence in the brand’s success, highlighting its evolution from a UK shoe brand to a globally recognized accessories brand with a dedicated following in both the US and the UK. The brand’s strong performance and growth in handbags and accessories, combined with its expanding celebrity following, position Kurt Geiger for further profitable growth in 2024. By prioritizing social responsibility and establishing the Business By Design academy, Kurt Geiger not only excels in the fashion industry but also creates opportunities for the next generation of talented individuals.