The retailer’s first overseas store will open in Dubai in September with franchise partner Jawad, and it also plans to open in Abu Dhabi this year. Further stores are set for Saudi and Kuwait in the next two years.
Blue Inc chief executive Steven Cohen said: “We believe there is great scope for a specialist men’s fashion offer abroad as there is limited competition in that area.”
The Dubai store will be based on its Liverpool One store, which opened late last year and was designed by Dalziel + Pow.
Cohen confirmed that he had been approached by potential partners to open stores in India and China and will consider testing its store format in those markets.
In the UK, Blue Inc is eyeing 20 locations for new stores this year. “We see very attractive opportunities given the better deals now available from landlords.”
Blue Inc, whose customer demographic ranges from 12 to 29 years old, has been less affected by the downturn as its customer is not as heavily hit by the economic slowdown. “We notice that our youngest customer demographic has been even less affected by current economic conditions,” said Cohen.
To increase brand awareness with its target market Blue Inc has also signed a partnership with the holiday firm Club 18-30 this year and will be co-sponsoring its events. As part of the deal Blue Inc will design all of the holiday representatives’ uniforms, which will have Blue Inc branding.
Total sales were 34 per cent ahead for Blue Inc last year, buoyed by increasing like-for-like sales and the opening of 18 stores during the period. It was also helped by its expansion into womenswear, with its Pink Inc shop-in-shop. Pink Inc departments will be rolled out to a further 10 Blue Inc stores this year.
Like-for-like and total sales continued to perform ahead of 2008 in the year to date, said Cohen.