Belfast Telegraph

White Stuff set to create 35 new jobs

By Anne Madden

A UK clothes retailer will create up to 35 new jobs — and a cinematic experience — when it opens its first Irish store in Belfast.

White Stuff, which started life as a ski-wear shop, prides itself on offering a quirky experience for customers and will incorporate a 12-seat boutique cinema in its premises.

The independent men and women’s clothes company has shops across the UK and will open in Belfast’s Arthur Square on October 22.

The 3,870 sq foot unit was previously occupied by John Frazer Apparel.

A company spokeswoman said it had decided to open a store in the heart of Belfast as a result of demand from customers ordering clothes online.

“By opening a store in Belfast our customers will now be able to touch and feel the actual products,” she said.

“Our customers are predominantly 35-plus women with families, so we have a kids’ den with wendy house and colouring boxes in the shop to cater for children.”

However, Belfast is also one of just two branches in the UK (the other is in York) which is getting a 12-seat cinema that will show films throughout the day. “At White Stuff we believe in providing an experience quite different from the rest of the high street — it is not just about selling clothes for us, we want to make customers feel happy,” the spokeswoman said.

She said White Stuff had perfected the art of “caring for customers” by attending to small matters, such as cold drinks on hot days, and hot drinks on cold days.

Their strategy appears to be working as compared to other retailers White Stuff has survived the recession fairly well, with profits up 42% last year.

The label is marketed as a “lifestyle” brand similar to kitchen ware retailer Lakeland and Boden, with the catalogue clothes firm a close competitor.

With 66 shops across the UK, White Stuff has been opening 10 to 12 shops every year.

The company was also listed in The Sunday Times 100 best companies to work for 2010.

It is the latest in a string of new retail arrivals to Northern Ireland, following hot on the heels of Blue Inc, Lakeland, TJ Hughes and other openings.

Belfast Telegraph