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Yours Clothing expands in the UK and Middle East

Yours Clothing is set to open 10 stores in the UK over the next six months, in locations including Weston-super-Mare and Bristol, and is plotting further expansion in the Middle East.

The plus-size womenswear retailer has opened in Londonderry, Inverness, Sunderland, Scunthorpe and Plymouth since its year end in February, taking its total to 92 stores.

“We opened our first store in the southwest last week, in Plymouth, and the response has been better than we imagined,” said joint managing director Resh Dorka.

Locations in Ipswich, Wolverhampton, Barnsley, Mansfield and Liverpool are in the pipeline for the next wave of store launches.

The retailer launched a plus-size menswear fascia called Bad Rhino for spring 16. All Yours stores now have a Bad Rhino presence and some stores have been refitted with a dual fascia. The Plymouth store has Yours on the ground floor and Bad Rhino on the first.

“Bad Rhino is performing well against our expectations and we had very ambitious targets,” said Dorka. “Each week is better than the last and we expect that to continue as awareness grows. We launched a radio advertising campaign a couple of weeks ago and saw a good response as a result, and we’re launching some sport advertising in the next few months.”

The retailer started trialling concessions in M&Co stores at the end of last year and has now expanded to nine stores from an initial five. Dorka said the trial is still at an exploratory stage but the process is now more efficient and seems to be working well.

“We will expect to make a formal review in September,” he said.

Yours is set to file its most recent results for the year to February 2016 in the next few weeks. Dorka said both sales and profits have increased on last year, although profit growth is lower as a result of the high level of investment.

“We have invested in new systems, expanded our headcount significantly at our head office and revamped our store estate,” he said.

Head office headcount has grown from 79 at the last year-end to 119 people, with marked growth in the buying and merchandising division, as well as store operations.

Dorka said the spring 16 has been quite tough, in line with many other fashion retailers, but he believes it is more due to the “mild, wet summer” than impact from concerns around Brexit.

“Sales picked up significantly since the warmer weather started and our like-for-likes have been up by 20%,” he said.

Yours is also expanding its footprint in the Middle East, where it currently has 11 stores with partner Landmark.

“We will look to have around 30 stores over the next two to three years and we see big opportunities in countries where we don’t currently have a presence, such as Oman and Kuwait,” he said.

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