We are extremely proud of our success on the UK high street; in 1996 we had 16 outlets and this has grown to over 300 stores and concessions around the UK, 100 of which are standalone stores. We continue to evolve our store design and increase the number in our standalone portfolio, exploring prominent locations, encouraged by the success of stores such as our concept flagship store in James Street, London.
Since 2008, Phase Eight has successfully traded online with sales increasing year on year. The website is now an integral part of our business shipping to 32 countries worldwide. We also work with a number of UK and International online partners. Our website extends the customer journey beyond our stores and concessions, while retaining the same customer-centric approach.
Phase Eight is making its mark as a global brand, with over 200 points of sale across 22 countries. Through a combination of joint ventures, concession partnerships and our own stores, an ambitious opening programme saw the first international locations open in Germany and Switzerland in 2012. Now, the Middle East is our best performing market worldwide and Germany and Switzerland our biggest European portfolio with over 100 employees currently.
In addition, we have successful overseas partnerships with David Jones in Australia, El Palacio in Mexico, Tangs in Malaysia and De Bijenkorf in the Netherlands. International growth continues to be a key focus, as we continue to build on our presence across the globe, so keep your eyes open for a new Phase Eight location during your travels!