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Blue Inc to launch Russian website

Young fashion retailer Blue Inc will launch its first fully localised overseas website in Russia this autumn and is considering branching out into other markets, including China.

A transactional local language and currency site for the Russian market has been built and is being tested ahead of a launch, likely to be in September.

The decision to invest in the Russian site was taken after exceptionally strong sales from customers in the country.

Brands – including Tommy Hilfiger, Gio-Goi and Lambretta – will be rolled out in a staggered approach on the site, before full collections are made available. It could not say how long this was likely to take or which brands will be first on the site.

Blue Inc has four stores in the Baltics, two in Latvia and two in Estonia, run on a franchise basis.

Head of ecommerce Ajay Nassa said online spend by Russian customers was typically three times higher than that of UK shoppers. The Russian and the Baltic markets account for 7% of all online sales.

Nassa said: “There is a hunger for Blue Inc and its brands in these environments, and this performance has been achieved with no local marketing– it’s all been organic. The [Russian] website is the next step.”

A number of Russian companies have been appointed to assist with PR and marketing, payment and translation services.

While there are no plans to back up the launch with physical store openings, Nassa said a future bricks-and-mortar presence in Russia was not being ruled out.

Nassa added local websites for other markets, including China, are being considered: “Given the growth and potential of the Chinese online market, we are exploring a cost-effective and low-risk ecommerce partner website.”

The news follows Blue Inc’s decision last week to abandon plans to float on the London stock market and to pursue a private sale instead, with a number of potential buyers understood to be interested. It has 240 stores in the UK.

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