Blue role takes former M&S chief back to high street
Sir Stuart has not worked in UK retail since he left Marks & Spencer 18 months ago, although he is a non-executive director of Woolworths, the South African food and clothes group.
The 100-year old company has a 2,000-strong workforce and its fellow backers include the billionaire Reuben brothers.
Blue Inc, led by managing director Steven Cohen, is heading for sales of £80m and profits of £5.5m this year, up 70 per cent and 82 per cent respectively on the previous year.
The company can trace its roots back to 1912 when it traded as A Levy & Sons.
In 1997 the stores were re-branded as Blue Inc to cater for the young, fashion conscious male.
The company has rapidly expanded the Blue Inc brand and its chain of stores across the UK.
It recently re-launched its web site and signed an international franchise deal to open stores across the Middle East.
Last year it launched selected womenswear departments under the banner of “Blue Inc Woman” and a boyswear line called “Boyz Stuff”.
Earlier this year Blue Inc snapped up 20 stores from collapsed fashion chain D2 Jeans.
It has a co-sponsorship deal with travel agency Club 18-30 for the forthcoming summer 2012 season.
Since retiring from Marks & Spencer, Sir Stuart has invested in online retailer Hut Group and private equity house Bridgepoint.
The 63-year-old ended his six-year tenure with the high-street giant in January 2011, bringing a close to an eventful leadership which attracted both praise and criticism.
Sir Stuart brought in key talent to drive a revival of M&S clothing ranges after taking up the helm and commissioned advertising campaigns featuring the likes of supermodels Twiggy, Erin O’Connor and singer Myleene Klass.
But his role, combining chairman and chief executive, raised the ire of many investors as it breached corporate best practice.
Sir Stuart brought in former Bradford-based Morrisons chief executive Marc Boland to replace him.