Next had held shares in Cotton Traders since 1997

Next had held shares in Cotton Traders since 1997

The founders of British leisurewear brand Cotton Traders are looking to expand into new markets and develop the business's online presence after buying back a 33% stake held by Next Plc.

In July, Fran Cotton and Steve Smith bought back the stake from Next, which had held shares in the company since 1997.

Cotton Traders said the move marks the end of a strong year's trading for the firm, which made GBP6.4m (US$10.3m) in the year to 31 January, with turnover of GBP80.73m. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The company, which said internet shopping makes up 50% of its business, is now looking to expand into ex-pat territories including Australia, partner with Amazon and develop its own online market.

"We're developing into an omni-channel retailer, with multi-national reach," Cotton said. "We have a very strong catalogue and internet business and they're totally integrated - for us it's very important to deliver a fantastic customer experience, no matter how people are getting in touch."