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The Kate effect pushes Orla's shop sales to €12m

THE Kate Middleton effect has pushed Orla Kiely's fashion empire above €10m in sales.

The Irish designer saw sales at her company rocket by 19pc to €11.7m last year.

Orla runs the UK-based firm with her husband Dermott Rowan.

Prince William's wife regularly opts for the retro style favoured by Orla Kiely -- and whatever Kate wears now, the public wears next. Earlier this year Kate selected a brown, dove-pattered winter dress which she wore with brown tights and boots for a royal engagement in Oxford.


The €202 'Birdie' print dress caused "an absolute frenzy" of buying on the Orla Kiely website and it was sold out within a matter of minutes.

When Kate opted for a grey dress with a pleated skirt and black embroidery embellishment for another public event, it had a similar effect on sales.

Kate's sister Pippa has also shown an interest in the Irish designer and wore a Orla Kiely cardigan to Wimbledon earlier this year.

And Hollywood stars Kirsten Dunst and Kiera Knightley are also fans.

But despite the massive boost in business, pre-tax profits at Kiely Rowan failed to turn around, as they fell 57pc from €526,892 to €221,954 in the 12 months to the end of last March.

Operating profit also dropped by 41pc from €568,812 to €332,266.

Ms Kiely and Mr Rowan have pressed ahead with massive international expansion over the past 12 months -- opening a flagship store in New York's Soho district last November and another in Taiwan.


The power couple behind the fashion brand said in the report attached to the accounts lodged with the UK's Companies House that they were "satisfied with the improvement shown in the year ended March 31 despite the hard economic conditions".

"The directors hope that turnover will continue to increase, partly due to further overseas expansion in the US and Asia and also due to an increase in the number of retail outlets."

The directors said that they would expand the product offering and develop the international and internet businesses.

Ms Kiely and Mr Rowan received aggregate remuneration of €387,961 last year.