Fast-growing Chinese fashion retailer Novo is expanding its store network and signing new licensing agreements on the back of a US$30m cash injection from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR).

The global investment business used its KKR China Growth Fund to make the investment, enabling Novo Holdco Limited to expand its fashion retail business, which is aimed at urban youths in China aged from 18 to 30.

The Chinese youth apparel retail market is a $38bn industry and has been growing at 16% per annum since 2005.

“There is a history of growth when retail companies partner with KKR and we are confident that this partnership will enable us to leverage their retail industry expertise and local knowledge to further grow our business as an industry leader in China,” said Alan Fang, chairman and CEO of Novo.

“We plan to grow aggressively in the coming few years, both in our anchor stores and brands development.”

David Liu, CEO of KKR Greater China, said: “Novo has developed a unique business model with extensive local network and supplier relationships, which enable it to fully capitalise on growing demand in the Chinese youth fashion market over the long term.”

The company operates a specialised department store chain as well as franchised  retail stores selling international fashion apparel and accessory brands, including more than 80 stores under the LeSportsac banner.