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Shirt firm to open African franchises

A Strabane company has managed to franchise its business model in West Africa.

Grosvenor Shirts, which designs and manufactures both men's and boys' shirts, normally sells its goods in its London-based store or online but is soon to open outlets in Nigeria and Ghana with the help of Invest NI.

Scheduled to open in spring 2012, the outlets are expected to boost the company's sales by £600,000 over the next three years.

The additional manufacturing will take place at the firm's Strabane factory.

"We identified the potential to grow the Grosvenor brand outside the UK by replicating the successful franchise model of our London store," Karl Dunkley, managing director of Grosvenor Shirts, said.

"Securing these franchise agreements in Ghana and Nigeria is a landmark achievement for the company which will help us to enhance our reputation within international markets as a prestigious bespoke shirt maker.

"Invest NI's support and encouragement to date has been invaluable and we hope that the experiences gained during the establishment of our African stores over the coming months will help us to leverage further franchising opportunities, particularly across the United Arab Emirates and South Africa."

Stephen Wightman of Invest NI said: "Grosvenor is a progressive company which has successfully built its reputation in the highly competitive London fashion market.

"This franchise success is a significant breakthrough for the company, which over the past three years has focused heavily on targeting global business opportunities."