David Charlton founded Northumberland-based menswear retailer The Officers Club from the ashes of a previous business which went into receivership in 1992. While Charlton’s previous business sold a selection of designerwear, he focused his new company firmly at the discount end of the market, with his stores regularly offering a 70% sale on all items. That decision has seen The Officers Club prosper. After the acquisition of 10 Fosters Menswear stores in 1998, 16 Blakes Menswear shops in 1999 and 65 Hamells Ladieswear sites from C&A in March 2000, the company portfolio now includes 152 stores nationwide. The Officers Club has seen profits increase 95% a year, from £672,000 in 1997 to £5m in 2000, when sales reached £52m. It attributes this success to an aggressive purchasing policy which has led to economies of scale. Around 95% of stores are now located in shopping centres such as Lakeside and Bluewater or in city centres, which increases passing trade and helps the company avoid costly advertising.
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