Footwear firm Belle International Holdings Ltd is to buy sportswear distributor Big Step Limited for up to CNY920m (US$145.6m) as part of efforts to expand its geographical presence in mainland China.

The acquisition of Big Step, which operates around 600 stores selling brands such as Nike and Adidas, is complementary to its existing business and should benefit from lower supply costs and improved operational efficiency following its integration.  

The deal was announced as Belle International booked a 24.2% jump in full-year profit to CNY4.25bn, as sales rose 22.1% to CNY28.9bn.

The company, which is China's largest retailer of women's footwear, saw footwear sales jump 26.7% to CNY18.5bn, helped by demand for its own brands such as Tata, Staccato and Joy & Peace, as well as brands like Bata, Geox and Clarks, which it also distributes.

The firm also distributes sportswear brands including Nike, Adidas, Puma, Kappa and Converse, and said sportswear revenues rose 14.3% to CNY10.4bn.