In the full year to August 30, 2007, The Officers Club cut its losses to£500,000 from£1 million the previous year.
Chairman Dave Charlton said that the retailer – traditionally a hard discounter – is trying to differentiate itself from the value market, because it has suffered from tough competition in the form of value players including Primark and Matalan, and the supermarkets.
“We are offering fewer basics and becoming more fashion-focused, with higher-quality products. Our average prices have gone up 8 to 10 per cent in the past year and we are having shorter and fewer Sale periods,” he said.
The retailer will carry out a refurbishment programme on 100 of its 165 stores in the next 18 months. Charlton said that he wanted to de-clutter stores, shunning the pile-it-high approach that it favoured previously.
“We went through a rough period three or four years ago, but I am confident that what we are doing now is right. Our margins have improved and this year we should break even,” said Charlton.
The Officers Club suffered poor trade over the Christmas period, with like-for-like sales down 1 per cent in the five weeks to January 1. Its 25 factory outlets were particularly weak, reporting a decline in like-for-like sales of 6 per cent.