By Aimee Chanthadavong

With its net profit after tax up 76 per cent from $14.5 million in 2009 to $25.5 million, childrenswear retailer Pumpkin Patch is looking to continue to expand its footprint across a number of markets.

In the release of its financial results for the 12 months ended 31 July 2010, Pumpkin Patch said it has recently opened its first store in Ireland with another store due to open this October.

Matthew Washington, Pumpkin Patch chief financial officer told Retailbiz that due to increasing sales of its wholesale products and mail orders from the Ireland region it provided the company with an opportunistic platform.

“We saw Ireland has as a natural extension of the UK market. It was a profitable part of the market for one of our competitor’s business and that lead us to look into expanding into Ireland,” he said.

The company has also launched its Charlie & Me brand, a new stand alone store brand targeting the ‘everyday wear’ segment of the market with expectations of opening at least seven stores in 2011.
“Our main focus will be in Australasia where the Charlie & Me brand will be focused on the ‘everyday wear’ market, which makes up three-quarters of the total global childrenswear market,” Washington said.

He also said that Pumpkin Patch established four wholesale partnerships in China, Lebanon, Malta and Thailand bringing the total wholesale markets to 20.

“There are quite a number of growth opportunities particularly in the soft global retail markets that will lead to more wholesale markets opening in the coming year.”

Now generating over 85 per cent of its turnover offshore, Pumpkin Patch’s most successful market for the year was in the UK which saw total sales in GBP terms increase by 5 per cent, according to Washington.

“The highlight was in the UK where we’ve certainly reduced our losses as the stores over there were outperforming the rest of our stores last year.”

The company expects that improved trading conditions will be advantageous as it continues to consider growth opportunities across all markets.