The Jones Apparel Group is set to take the middle-range sports market by storm with its latest acquisition.

Some analysts were sceptical when Jones bought major women's shoes company, Nine West, two years ago. But according to the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper, things have gone well and shares in Jones have more than doubled since June last year.

Now Jones is set to branch out into a new market, after snapping up the McNaughton Apparel Group for $572m in April this year.

It plans to make a big impact on the middle-priced sportswear market but says it has no plans to move down a notch into the discount market.

Instead, more acquisitions could be on the way and the company's 800-strong workforce could be expanded as this happens.

Much of the company's design work, sample-making and pattern-making is done in Bristol, where the finance and credit-collection operations are also based.