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No summertime blues for Erne as fashion chain opens its doors

British fashion chain Blue Inc has opened its first store in Northern Ireland and announced plans for a further five outlets across the province

The men’s high street brand opened its first store in the Erneside Centre in Enniskillen earlier this month and said that its new Irish operation will create over 100 jobs in Northern Ireland over the next 18 months.

New stores are planned in Belfast, Newry, Connswater, Londonderry and Newtownards.

Blue Inc’s managing director Steven Cohen said the firm was confident in its expansion plans despite economic indicators showing the retail sector remains subdued, with consumers keeping a tight rein on spending post-recession.

He said: “We are excited about expanding into Northern Ireland given the success we have achieved with our unique ranges in our expansion across England, Wales and the Middle East, where we recently opened a store in Abu Dhabi.

“We are delighted to be launching Blue Inc in Northern Ireland.

“We are also pleased to be employing a large amount local staff and support the local community.

“Blue Inc has grown significantly in recent years to 90 stores and looks forward to creating a number of new jobs and |employment opportunities in Northern Ireland.”

Blue Inc’s head office is in Walthamstow in east London.

The company started life as a hat shop in nearby Stratford in 1912 before growing into a high street fashion retailer.

The brand offers a mix of clothes ranging from a casual collection to key trend-led pieces worn by celebrities including the pop groups JLS and Scouting |for Girls.

Its new store in Enniskillen is 2,500 square feet and has been designed to showcase Blue Inc’s “contemporary urban vibe”, the retailer said.