American Golf Discount Centre is the UK’s largest specialist golf retailer, the name inherited when Howard and Robert Bilton acquired their first retail store, having previously traded from a garden shed at their golf club.
American Golf Discount Centre is the UK’s largest specialist golf retailer, the name inherited when Howard and Robert Bilton acquired their first retail store, having previously traded from a garden shed at their golf club. Since then the business has grown steadily to 80 stores, with annual sales of £72.3m, although profitability has been a problem in recent years. A major recent refinancing is intended to put the operation back on track.
As noted in Retail Week Knowledge Bank’s recently updated profile, with the domestic operation approaching its planned 100 network target, future plans largely revolve round exploiting the potential in European markets. Indeed, it has started making an impact with online sales from a website with prices in euros and a handful of other European currencies, but text remaining in English. Earlier this year it acquired Onlinegolf.co.uk, with 40% of sales reportedly in Europe. It has a dedicated page for eight other European languages.
There is, though, another related concern. That is full acceptability on the Continent of a name including ‘American’ and ‘Discount’. American Golf Discount Centre may already be Europe’s - not just the UK’s - largest golf specialist but the suspicion is these words could be counterproductive. Domestically the network’s build up over 30 years has minimised any such problems that a sudden, major launch might have induced. Nor would it be the first time an ambitious UK retailer has felt the need to trade under a different name in Europe - Carphone Warehouse becoming The Phone House. Lee Brown’s task as American Golf Discount Centre’s new ecommerce director - charged with maximising the group’s online exploitation - is likely to be but only one element in achieving a brand-optimised, game-winning, European hole in one.