Groupe Royer has announced a master franchising deal with Miramar Hotel and Investment of Hong Kong for the opening of numerous stores under its own Kickers brand in Hong Kong and China. The first 10 stores will be inaugurated before the end of 2012, and they will include two flagship stores in Shanghai and Beijing.

Within five years, the total number of Kickers stores is set to rise to 180, covering 19 Chinese cities with more than 2 million inhabitants. The partners have an option to extend the contract after five years. The next goal at that point will be to set up a total of 500 Kickers stores in 67 cities.

Owned by the Henderson Land Group and quoted on the Hong Kong stock exchange since 1970, the 55-year-old Miramar Group is involved in real estate management. It owns six hotels and service apartment buildings and several restaurants, plus a shopping center and an office tower. It moved into the retail sector one year ago with a deal to set up DKNY Jeans shops in 38 major Chinese cities. In the six months ended last June 30, Miramar made a net profit of HK$190 million (€18.7m-$24.4m) on 16 percent higher revenues of HK$1,159 million (€114.1m-$149.0m).

As previously reported, Kickers is strongly developing its network of mono-brand stores, supporting the enlargement of its collection from footwear into the apparel segment. In France alone, it plans to expand it from six to 50 doors by 2015, mostly through franchising. Ten of them should open in 2012. Two stores named Kids & Kickers will offer Kickers products for children along with those of two other children's brands owned by Royer, Mod8 and Aster, and children's items from its other licensed brands including Converse, New Balance and Hello Kitty.

Kickers already opened a store in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, and it plans to follow up with a dozen more in the Middle East in the next few years. The brand is also looking for master franchisees in Germany and Spain, where the brand is relatively well known. It continues to develop well in the U.S.

Bought by Royer in 2008, Kickers is aiming for a 24 percent increase in revenues to €64.5 million this year, not including sales under license. The brand will be a major contributor to the total turnover of the Royer group, which is expected to reach €330 million in 2011, compared with €280 million in 2010. The operating margin is said to be stable at around 7 percent of sales.

Meanwhile, Royer continues to take on new footwear licensing deals. After its recent contract for Spring Court, it is about to announce another one with Kaporal, a French brand of jeans, covering the markets of France, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Italy, the U.K. and the Benelux countries.