Blue Inc is accelerating its growth strategy and aims to open up to 20 stores this year.
The young fashion chain, which is run by former First Sport chief executive Steven Cohen, was bought in a private equity-backed deal a year ago and initially planned to double its store portfolio from 30 to 60 by the end of 2008. But the roll-out is running ahead of schedule and Blue Inc is scouting locations in the Home Counties and East Anglia for sites of between 2,500 sq ft and 3,000 sq ft. "In this market you need to grow to gain recognition," said Cohen.
Of the new stores, 40% are likely to be on the high street, with 60% in shopping centre locations.
The chain recently unveiled its first out-of-town outlet in Feltham, Middlesex, and Cohen said he believed the format had mileage. "We like the concept. It has been trading well and benefits from lower rents."
Cohen told Drapers that the business, which sells 80% own-label product alongside brands including Levi's and Ben Sherman, is expected to show "significant" sales growth against the £20 million turnover reported for 2005.
This year, the retailer plans to increase its average transaction value by upping its denim prices and making it more aspirational. Alongside developing a good, better, best pricing architecture, Blue Inc will also drive own-branded product, growing its own-label footwear from 10 styles to 20 from February.
Cohen aims to make more economical use of store space later this year, which will free up areas for the new product range.
The design for the new stores has been created by Barcelona-based consultancy Deluxe Vision, which is responsible for the interior of Inditex businesses Pull & Bear and Zara.