Well-known Knightsbridge store, Harvey Nichols, is heading north to the Midlands and opening the first of a new line of luxury boutique-style stores.

The department store group, 50.1 per cent owned by Hong Kong entrepreneur, Dickson Pool, plans to develop ten 15,000 sq ft stores which will sell mainly own-label products.

Harvey Nichols has selected the site for the Birmingham boutique, which is due to open in the second half of next year.

A further two full-scale stores are planned for Edinburgh and Manchester during the next three years.

An industry source said: "A larger number of outlets will make it viable for Harvey Nichols to expand its own-label range of clothes and food products."

Figures show that continuing consumer demand for branded goods drove sales up 6.4 per cent to £66m for the six months to September 30, producing a 10 per cent rise in pre-tax profits.

By Deborah Bowyer