Jones Apparel Group Inc has taken steps to expand its presence in emerging Asian markets after buying a minority interest in GRI Group Limited, a company that distributes its products in the region.

GRI, which is the exclusive licensee of several of Jones' brands in Asia, including Nine West, Anne Klein New York, AK Anne Klein, Easy Spirit, Enzo Angiolini and Joan and David, has "been instrumental in establishing our brands abroad," the company said. 

Wesley R Card, Jones Apparel group president and chief executive officer, said: "Industry reports show that rising income and favourable economic policies are supporting robust consumption growth in China.

"The Asian consumer has responded positively to our footwear and accessories brands, and we are eager to grow our apparel brands in the region in a more meaningful way.

"We see opportunities to significantly increase our retail footprint in emerging markets over the next several years."

Jeffrey Fang, GRI Group chief executive officer, added: "We believe there continues to be an opportunity for growth and brand penetration throughout Asia."

Jones distributes its products through international partners in over 60 countries with over 1,000 retail locations.