Clothing chain The Officers Club closes its doors in Hartlepool

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A clothing chain has closed its doors in Hartlepool.

The Officers Club, which was based in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, has been shut down.

The company has been wanting to do a corporate restructuring for some time, but the timing of this is unfortunate

Blue Inc spokeswoman

The owners of the chain, A Levy & Son, which trades as Blue Inc and Officers Club, appointed administrators on January 19.

They said the cause of that was because of a shift from customers towards online shopping, which has seen a 50% increase.

That has led to the closure of 74 stores, including the one in Hartlepool, with about 580 jobs lost nationally.

Meanwhile, administrators Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group has secured the future of 1,500 more jobs at the company by restructuring.

A spokeswoman for Blue Inc said: “Administrators were appointed, but the company has not gone into administration.

“Basically the administrators have been collaborating store portfolios to find out which ones had the most potential and sadly a number of stores have had to close.

“Blue Inc made some additions to the portfolio in 2011 and 2012, and some of them worked, but some didn’t.

“The company has been wanting to do a corporate restructuring for some time, but the timing of this is unfortunate.

“People may look at the timing and think that this is because of poor Christmas sales, but that is not the case.

“There has been a big shift towards online shopping in recent times.

“Our online sales were up by 50%, but there’s still been a strong like-for-like 3% rise in store sales – but some shops just haven’t performed as well as others across the country.

“Sadly, we have had to let people go and jobs have been lost.”