Fashion retailer Esprit Holdings Ltd has gained stronger control of its Swiss and Italian markets through the acquisition of a Switzerland-based distribution firm for EUR31 million.

The purchase of Bollag-Guggenheim & Co AG, three-and-a-half years ahead of schedule, is expected to grow Esprit in Europe, the company's most profitable market.

"We expect to double our business in Switzerland within four years," group CEO Heinz Krogner said.

"(Bollag-Guggenheim's) merchandising and retail systems are already linked to our network.

"We anticipate a smoother integration of these two countries' businesses into our European operations."