This year's annual turnover for the Nathalie Chaize women's wear fashion chain is expected to hit a record FF50m, the culmination of five years' steady increases from the FF10m it enjoyed in l994.

To achieve this progress the company has been regularly reinvesting in new plant and equipment. One of its latest acquisitions is last year's purchase of a FF500,000 Lectra automatic cutting table.

On the creative side of the business recent emphasis has been on establishing individual identities for each of its three major ranges to provide market coverage across the price spectrum. Last year also saw the company moving into direct-to-the-public sales through wholly-owned retail outlets, the first of which opened in Paris exactly 12 months ago. Now the Nathalie Chaize group is also looking for international, Internet sales through its newly established website.

Currently 80 per cent of business comes from the French home market, but the company has its sights set on expanding export sales in the Benelux nations, Switzerland, Italy and the UK.

By Sonia Roberts.