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Avoca to branch into the UK and US

Irish retailer Avoca will expand into the UK and the US for the first time following its sale to US food services company Aramark for €60m (£42m) last week.

Avoca will continue to be run by former owners the Pratt family as a separate business within Aramark’s Irish operations.

Aramark will finance the expansion of the brand in Ireland over the next two years, opening five or six new stores, The Irish Times has reported.

Avoca is said to be mulling openings in Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. The first location will be confirmed in early 2016.

A Dublin flagship is also under consideration, and a move into the former Clery’s store on O’Connell Street has been mooted.

Following the Irish expansion, Avoca will look to expand into the UK and the US, the newspaper continues.

It will target Greater London with at least three large destination stores accessible from key routes such as the M25. It is also planning to open a bakery in the UK.

Depending on its performance the retailer may then move into the US. Aramark’s headquarters are in Missouri.

Avoca started life as a weaving mill in County Wicklow in 1723 and now has 11 stores, some of which have cafes, and its eponymous brand. It employs 850 people and had a turnover in 2014 of €55m (£39m). 

Donald and Hilary Pratt bought the business in 1974 and it is now managed by their children, Simon, Ivan and Vanessa. Their sister Amanda left her position as head designer last year, but retained a stake.

The sale to Aramark is subject to regulatory approval, as it already has a catering business in Ireland.

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