Strabane shirt manufacturer sizes up African markets

Picture by Parkway Photography

Pictured (L-R) are Stephen Wightman, Invest NI and Karl Dunkley, Managing Director of Grosvenor Shirts.

Strabane-based Grosvenor Shirts has secured two franchise agreements in Nigeria and Ghana following support from Invest Northern Ireland.

The company designs and manufactures quality men’s and boys’ shirts and offers its customers both a ready-to-wear range and made-to-measure service from its online and London-based store. The new outlets in Nigeria and Ghana are due to open in spring 2012 and will be the first Grosvenor retail shops to be set up outside the UK.

This news follows Grosvenor’s 2009 investment in exploring franchise opportunities in export markets. The Nigeria and Ghana franchises are expected to increase the company’s sales by £600,000 over the next three years, with all associated manufacturing taking place in Grosvenor’s Strabane factory.

Stephen Wightman, Invest NI’s Acting Director of Life Sciences and Creative Industries, said: “Grosvenor is a progressive firm 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. Investing in brand development and product innovation has enabled Grosvenor Shirts to fully exploit export opportunities and attract new customers in international markets.”

Karl Dunkley, Managing Director of Grosvenor Shirts, said: “We identified the potential to grow the Grosvenor brand outside the UK by replicating the successful franchise model of our London store. 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 UAE and South Africa.”