Box 2 plans 20 stores in plus-size drive

Plus-size fashion specialist Box 2 is to open a chain of 20 franchised boutiques to target the growing number of women who are size 16 and over.

Founder Nicky Allen said the retailer plans to open the first store in Wimbledon before Christmas. A further five shops are planned for next year.

'There are no shops for plus-sized women apart from Evans. We sell to the same customers, but more for special occasions,' said Allen.

Box 2 sells clothes and accessories via a Brighton store, which opened in 1983, as well as via its catalogue, which launched three years ago.

Since then, the company's shopper base has swelled to 5,000 customers, with profits from the store and catalogue business split equally.

Allen expects to recruit Box 2 franchisees from the existing customer base.