British fashion brand Jaeger has signed a franchise agreement in the Middle East which will see it opening stores across Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Lebanon and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The deal with Speciality Fashion Group Company of Kuwait, part of The Sultan Center Group, is initially aiming for a minimum of eight Jaeger franchise stores over the next five years.
Belinda Earl, Jaeger's Group chief executive, said the move "continues Jaeger's international growth strategy, accelerating the brand's global presence in additional key markets."

Since her appointment in 2004, Earl, the former chief executive of Debenhams Plc, has focused on expanding the brand both in the UK and overseas.
Jaeger currently has 144 UK and European stores, including freestanding stores, shop-in-shops and outlets, and this year plans to double the number of its overseas stores to 80.

It will also enter eight new markets, including the USA, South Asia, Australia and Eastern Europe, taking the total number of its territories to 20, with further expansion planned in 2008/9.

Jaeger was acquired by fashion entrepreneur Harold Tillman in 2003.