Deathwatch - The Officers Club, now with up to 20% off!

24 December 2008

I ambled past a branch of The Officers Club last night (having just witnessed the nuclear desolation that is the toy department in Woolworths)  and two things were immediately apparent;

  • The Officers Club is nothing of the sort; no officer, even a parole officer would be found buying a leather jacket there, let alone pulling up a bar stool and crooning songs by the Everly Brothers
  • I don't understand who it is setting astronomical RRPs or how such a procedure is regulated, in order for a store to constantly sell goods at over two thirds of their "original" price

Seemingly I'm not the only one; the sums didn't add up (a quick peek at their financial records - a loss before tax of £794,000 for 2007 on sales of £52 million - suggests they were in trouble long before now) and on Monday, the North East based company went into administration.

Yesterday, a buyer was found; 118 of the 150 stores were sold to a third party backed by the The Officers Club chairman, David Charlton. Not all bad news then - the sale safeguarded the jobs of 900 staff. The other 32 stores were closed immediately.

Meanwhile, the BBC reports experts are warning that ten or more national or regional retail chains risk going bust in January. Seemingly next month is the most vulnerable for struggling retailers, since most are cash-rich and stock-poor; if creditors are going to force a business into administration, January's the time to do it.

So we need ten predictions for you - which stores will cease trading in the next five weeks? There's a Bitterwallet prize pack* for every correct answer!

* Prize pack may be nothing of the sort. May contain nut products.

TOPICS:   Economy


  • Noone R.
    Zavvi. Do I get a prize?
  • Noone R.
    OK, I'll add another one. WH Smith
  • Martin
    Why would anyone trust a RRP in a store that continually has 70% off? It wouldn't surprise me if Jessops went soon.
  • Paul S.
    Do you get a prize for predicting a store will go into administration, after it goes into administration...? :)
  • Ultraviolence
  • samani
  • RK
    Body Shop
  • highguyuk
    I think this stems from earlier posts, but I'll put 10 down. Be interesting to see what happens: Clinton Cards Comet New Look Homebase/Wickes - one of the two. Dreams/Bensons for Beds - one or both of these Brantano/Clarks - one of the two Staples JJB SCS And I'll copy RK ... I think Body Shop is a good call.
  • Mark
    Let's see - I'm thinking someone who's really losing out to the internet and has higher markups than customers are willing to pay... so let's say HMV and maybe Gamestation/Game. Let's have Blockbuster in there as well, they must be losing out to Lovefilm et al. I think too many people think that Brantano and New Look represent 'good value' for them to stop shopping there. Same goes for H&M and suchlike. Maybe someone like USC or River Island would be a better bet in the clothing sector. I'll agree with SCS (less people going to buy a sofa in these times), Wilkinsons (similar reasons to Woolworths I guess) and Body Shop. Is that 10 yet...? No. 9. Um... I'll stick Julian Graves in. If people don't want Whittard coffee, they'll not want Julian Graves walnuts.
  • Bill B.
    I'd like to see D2 Jeans go under. They constantly peddle the same one offer under different guises: -"Jeans for £20, buy one get one half price!" -"2 Pairs of Jeans for only £30!" -"2 gifts for £30! Choose any two pairs of jeans!" -"Buy two £20 pairs of jeans and save £10!" Etc.
  • Kevin
    Multiyork SCS Blockbuster DSG (but it'll be split into a new smaller business mixing PC World and Currys into one store) I like the idea of Benson Beds/Dreams, maybe both? The Pier One of the mobile phone chains will have massive cutbacks
  • Paul S.
    Actually, I passed The Pier last night and it was having a closing down sale. And here we go: Another one in the hands of administrators, then. Blimey. I'd say Blockbusters was a good shout, given that their business model is slowly being eroded by low cost DVDs and online distribution. But by all accounts, Blockbuster still seems to be prospering with its mailing service, both here and in the States, but I can't see how that can continue as technology progresses. I'm not sure I know anyone who rents DVDs anymore? Because of Sky and HMV sales, I know I don't.
  • Andy
    I second WH smiths, Boots but the pharmacy side is pretty strong BHS House of frazer any number of jewellers
  • well w.
    i'd be interested in the 10 companies that will prosper in the coming months. Guess it will come down to certain markets loosing out over the competition so the best/cheapest will survive. computer parts.... best ebuyer.. worst pc world books... best amazon...worst possibly wh smiths ikea... worst dfs/land of leather mfi (to late) general household good..tescos...V...wilkinsons dvd somewhere online V hmv (to expensive) games V wh smiths [email protected] my list like to see your lists. (might be interested in broadening my portfolio and invest in some of these)
  • Alan
    H Samuels - thinking that people won't be buying porcelien and jewels when they are skint. would say HMV, but with zavvi going out of business there isn't too much competition for them anymore on the highstreet. will have a gamble on Marks and Spencers, overpriced and aimed more at the luxury market. possibly a phone retailer like the Link or phones4u House Of Frasier could be another to go. Debenhams could be another. I would say BHS but Phillip Green has the money to prevent it going down and is apparently looking at buying some of MFI's shops on the cheap. BodyShop Fads Possibly one of DSG's either pc world or curry's Jessops and possibly one of the smaller DIY chains. not B+Q
  • Glyn
    I reckon every retailer has been mentioned so we should get a few right!
  • Glyn
    How about Next?
  • Mark
    Maybe there's scope for a phone retailer going under. The reaction I got from threatening to cancel Vodafone certainly seemed more forthcoming than usual, if that's anything to go by. Hopefully not one that owes its customers chequeback offers though. Next is probably a safer bet for going under than its Arcadia-backed competition that inhabits the same price bracket. But I think its market can be fooled with a few quid off (say £20 shirts reduced to £16) whereas the slightly higher end (£45 shirt reduced to £40) probably can't, so my money's still on someone more expensive.
  • Greg
    Julian Graves Ltd. is literally on the verge of going under. They were hoping Christmas would save them but dreadful sales have pretty much finished them off.
  • pill s.
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