Clothing retailer wins major award

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THE GROWTH of clothing retailer The Original Factory Shop has led to it winning a major title at a prestigious set of awards.

The store, which has outlets in Bury St Edmunds and Mildenhall, has been named as Growing Retailer of the Year in the Retail Week Awards.

The awards ceremony was attended by more than 1,600 of the UK’s top retailers.

The Growing Retailer award recognises those that have carved out a niche for themselves in a highly competitive market.

Judges included Andy Clarke, chief executive of the Asda Group, Simon Fox of HMV, Stephen Sunnucks, president of GAP Europe, and Hugh Harvey from Comet.

Nicola Washbourne, who is store manager at The Original Factory Shop in Bury, said: “We feel very proud to have been named growing retailer of the year.

“It is dedicated to all the colleagues at the store, and to our local customers who have been behind us from day one.”

The store was originally founded in 1969 as part of Peter Black’s selling surplus stock from Marks and Spencer.

Now the chain of shops is headed up by Angela Spindler, who joined as chief executive in January 2009.

She was previously managing director at Debenhams, and before that had served in a variety of top level roles during her 10 years at Asda including executive managing director of the George clothing brand.

She said: “It’s fantastic to have received this award. It is a reflection of how unique our position is.

“It also recognises the incredible hard work and effort our teams have consistently put in.”

The company operates stores mainly located in small market towns and tourist destinations.

It specialises in a mix of heavily discounted well-known high street brands sold alongside its own brand products.

Over the past two years the company has seen its sales grow by 73 per cent.

At the same time. its network of stores has grown from 99 to 162, stretching from the top of Scotland to within a few miles of Lands End, and employing about 2,600 people.

Now recognised as one of the fastest growing retailers in the UK, The Original Factory Shop has already identified a further 400 locations where it can continue to expand over the next few years.

The company now boasts an annual turnover of more than £132 million. Last year also saw it announce its fifth consecutive year of double digit growth.

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