A footwear brand that sells a pair of shoes every 20 seconds in Britain is inching into the UAE.
Hotter Shoes, which sells about 1.8 million pairs each year in the United Kingdom, has struck a deal with Jawad Business Group, based in Bahrain, to sell its shoes in nine Shoe Citi stores in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.
"We're going through a test phase at the moment, which is to introduce the product and the brand and then we will get some responses to that and we will evolve our strategy from there," said Peter Taylor, the managing director of Hotter Shoes.
"Ultimately, though, we believe that there's a real opportunity to open up free-standing stores in the region."
The brand was started 50 years ago as a slipper manufacturer, but broadened in the mid-1990s to include shoes. It claims to make one in three pairs of shoes sold in the UK today.
Hotter remained focused on its home market until recently, but launched in the United States a couple of years ago. It currently sells about 250,000 pairs there each year, Mr Taylor said.
"That's growing exceptionally well at the moment," he added. We have also been dealing in South Africa for a number of years through a distributor. And literally now the Middle East and Russia are the two new markets for us."