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Blue Inc secures backers ahead of IPO

Young fashion retailer Blue Inc will consider appointing advisers this autumn ahead of a possible IPO next year.

The likely hiring of brokers follows the acquisition of a £2m stake in the retailer by billionaire investors the Reuben brothers, which Blue Inc chief executive Steven Cohen described as “pre-IPO funding”.

Cohen said the investment would help Blue Inc continue to grow without debt, which has become a millstone for some private equity-backed store groups. “We’ve been growing by equity funding,” he said.

Blue Inc has been considering an IPO for some time and has bolstered its board in preparation. Former M&S and Mothercare executive Mike Rainer joined as finance director last year, and financier Alan Jacobs - associated with both the IPO and sale of DFS - became a non-executive director. It is understood Blue Inc is also likely to appoint a chairman later this year.

In March, it acquired 46 Officers Club stores out of administration bringing its store count to 146, and is in the process of integrating systems and beginning the rebadging of Officers Club stores in England to Blue Inc. The retailer is retaining the Officers Club fascia in Scotland and Wales, as well as the Petroleum outlet park fascia.

Cohen led the acquisition of Blue Inc, formerly Mr Byrite, in 2006.

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