Fashion specialist Blue Inc, which is considering a flotation, generated a sales uplift over Christmas helped by the accessibility of its stores.
Blue Inc managed a like-for-like sales advance of 1.7% in the two weeks to December 31 compared with a 5% increase the previous year. Total sales rose 22% over the period, when newly opened stores in Northern Ireland beat management expectations.
Chief executive Steven Cohen said there was disruption because of snow but pointed out: “Our young, predominantly male customers made the trip to our stores. Foot traffic is more important than cars for us.”
Blue Inc has increased store numbers from 28 to 99 since Cohen led an acquisition in 2006 and he sees opportunity to add another 20 stores per year. Cohen said that an IPO remains his preferred way to raise expansion finance, and he is talking to potential brokers, but that there is no necessity to float and no decision is imminent. It is understood that Blue Inc is considering other options such as development capital.
The retailer has bolstered its board with the appointment of former Schroders and Citigroup banker Alan Jacobs as a non-executive director. Jacobs is well-known for his role in the flotation of DFS and its sale last year by founder Lord Kirkham.
Jacobs’ appointment follows the hiring last September of Mike Rainer as finance director.