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Chocolate to publish magazine and recruit more staff

Northern Irish young fashion indie Chocolate is to create an in-store magazine, ahead of expanding its brand mix and staff numbers.

The Derry store is performing well despite the downturn and plans to publish the magazine for spring 12 to give customers added value and help drive sales.

Co-owner Dave Conaghan said the 20 to 30-page magazine would comprise a photo shoot, a focus on six brands each for men and women and a ‘get the look’ feature. It will be available in store and sent out with web orders. Distribution through local newspapers is also being mooted. A digital version will also be available on the indie’s website, www.chocolateclothing.co.uk.

“We’re going to do one for spring 12 and then gauge the reaction. If it works well we’ll do it two to four times a year,” said Conaghan.

Chocolate, which opened four years ago, stocks about 40 brands. Conaghan is looking to double this over the next three to five years. Short-order brands will be at the top of his buying agenda when he visits womenswear show Pure London. He will also be seeking out new brands at menswear trade shows Stitch and Jacket Required.

For womenswear he is on the hunt for partywear, and for men he will focus on heritage brands.

Chocolate is also contemplating the launch of its own short-order womenswear collection.

With such activity planned, Conaghan is looking to double staff numbers to 12. “Trading was up on last year for Christmas and online we were up 35%,” he said. “It’s been quiet so far this year but based on last year I’m quietly confident.”

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