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Streamlined Blue Inc taking digital route to international expansion

Troubled UK clothing chain Blue Inc is eyeing growth in new international territories via a localised website approach.

The chain, which previously planned a listing in the UK and once had Sir Stuart Rose as its chairman prior to falling into financial difficulty, has established local domains in France, Germany and Russia, and is planning further eCommerce expansion.

It is only 12 months since Blue Inc successfully filed for a company voluntary arrangement, which resulted in the closure of around 50 stores – a move that came only a year after the business’s pre-pack administration. The retailer, which once had over 200 stores in the UK but now operates around 70 shops, is looking to build momentum again.

Blue Inc’s online global expansion drive involves working with eCommerce service provider Visualsoft and payments supplier Ingenico. The latter said this week that it integrated its online payments gateway into Visualsoft’s platform, which has reportedly improved transaction authorisation success rates and reduced the number of charge-backs experienced by the retailer.

Lee Whitehead, director of eCommerce at Blue Inc, explained: “Ingenico ensures the smoothest customer experience, combined with full service and fraud prevention tools.

“It offers a very wide range of supported payment methods and rather than simply enabling them, Ingenico’s experts worked closely with us to clearly define the most relevant payment choices for each market.”

In its most recent accounts filed with Companies House, in September 2017, Blue Inc said its losses totalled £15.6 million in the 18 months to 2 July 2016, compared to the £2.61 million loss recorded for the 18 months ending 30 December 2014.

It said it achieved sales of £23 million and gross profit of £12 million during the 18-month period prior to its administration.

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