British luxury label Hardy Amies Plc has signed new three-year licence agreements in Japan, and revealed plans to open its first stores in China next year.

The London-based business said the licence agreements with ten of its existing Japanese operators will generate at least GBP850,000 (US$1.7m) in annual sales.

The new arrangements also mean trademark rights for Japan are now owned by the group.

In China, Hardy Amies has entered into a joint venture with Asia Pacific retailer Aussino Group Limited to develop retail outlets and help establish it as a luxury brand in this market.

The joint venture requires a capital commitment of GBP0.5m each from Hardy Amies and Aussino Group.

"The plan envisages the opening of our first stores in China during 2008," Hardy Amies chairman Andrew Manders said in a statement.

The company also opened its first UK store outside Savile Row last week, with the new outlet in Edinburgh selling men's wear.

Last month Hardy Amies narrowed pre-tax losses to GBP372,252 in the six months to 30 June, as sales rose by 8.9% to GBP728,531.