US swimwear firm Warnaco Group's decision to snap up a number of Calvin Klein retail operations in Italy should come as no surprise given the company's global strategy of late.

Calvin Klein is Warnaco's growth engine, leading the group to buyout third party distributors in Chile, Peru and Brazil earlier this year. In doing so, Warnaco will be able to keep a close eye on how the Calvin Klein brand is being showcased.

The Italy deal, announced today (5 October), includes 22 Calvin Klein Jeans retail stores and related assets from Warnaco's largest Italian franchise partner.

Significantly, it makes Italy the company's largest retail market in Europe, with 58 directly operated stores. With well-known domestic competitors including Giorgio Armani and Prada to contend with, the Calvin Klein brand is certainly taking bold steps.

The 22 stores are expected to generate approximately EUR28m ($38)m in revenues in fiscal 2011 and add over 50,000 square feet of new retail space though.

Warnaco CEO Joe Gromek sees Italy as a safe bet. He says: "This acquisition is consistent with our global growth strategies to expand our profitable international business and our direct to consumer footprint. Italy is one of our largest markets outside the United States and we are delighted to expand our direct operations and revenues in this key market.

"This transaction will generate a strong return on investment, and will enable us to leverage our regional and country platform and infrastructure as well as our full complement of products and marketing to maximise sales and profits."

Warnaco, whose other licensed brands include Speedo and Chaps, makes just over half its revenues on international soil and also wants to invest in its distribution channels for CK in Singapore and China.

Analysts have shared Gromek's confidence of late, and last month Standard & Poor's Rating Services raised its corporate credit rating on Warnaco to investment grade BBB-, citing "strong operating and financial performance".

Warnaco owns the trademark for Calvin Klein underwear, loungewear and sleepwear, and has licensed trademarks for Calvin Klein jeans in North, South and Central America.

It also has trademarks for Calvin Klein, CK Calvin Klein and Choice Calvin Klein swimwear for a term. Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation owns and markets the Calvin Klein brand worldwide.

Therefore, Warnaco's strong focus on Calvin Klein, together with its global spread, make the company well place to weather financial storms.