Founded in Stratford, East London in 1912 by Abraham Levy and trading mainly under the Mr Byrite brand until the introduction of Blue Inc in 2002. Blue Inc was acquired in January 2006, a project led by CEO Steven Cohen, with only twenty eight stores in the UK at the time. Through a combination of acquisitions and organic growth there are now over one hundred stores, trading as Blue Inc or Officers Club. Generating revenue of £114 million for the year ended 31st December 2015. The Blue Inc website was launched in 2009 and womenswear was introduced into a number of stores throughout the country in 2010.
In March 2011, Blue Inc acquired Officers Club and cherry picked forty seven stores. The acquisition comprised the brand, stock and selected leases. Following the acquisition, management reopened seventeen new stores using the Officers Club brand, which targets the male customer aged 11-25. Officers Club stores are predominantly located in Scotland, Wales and the North East. Blue Inc took the decision to retain the Officers Club brand as believed to have strong market awareness in these regions. This provided the opportunity to rebrand Blue Inc stores, and vice versa, to improve store performance based on local demographics.
In January 2012, twenty D2 stores were acquired and rebranded as Blue Inc. The retailer previously sold a mixture of branded and own branded denims and young fashion to boys and men.
Between 2010 and 2012, further equity investment was made, including from Sir Stuart Rose and the Reuben Brothers to fund these acquisitions and ongoing growth. The management team was further strengthened at that time.
Blue Inc has been highlighted by the media as ‘One to Recognise’ in the Sunday Times Profit Track 100 in 2010 and featured in the Sunday Times Profit Track 100 in 2013. It was shortlisted in the Oracle Retail Week Awards for ‘Growing Retailer of the Year 2015’, and has also been shortlisted in the ‘UK Retailer’ and ‘Rising Star of the Year’ categories at the Global RLI Awards 2014.
In 2013, five former Republic stores were acquired from landlords, following that company’s administration, with the intention to increase Blue Inc’s womenswear offering.
Blue Inc selectively acquires sites where it sees opportunities in its distinctive niche market, principally close to high density student towns or urban high streets. In addition, refurbishment and or relocation of sixteen of the Blue Inc’s high density and turnover stores is planned. This refurbishment plan follows successful trials in Luton and Peterborough where a broadening of the shop front, high impact audio visual systems and a 3D young urban look with iron, slate, bricks and rust finishes has been well received by customers. Since refurbishment, Luton store saw a 74.7 % increase in sales.