Northern-based menswear retailer, The Officers Club, has unveiled exciting plans to increase the company's portfolio to 300 stores in the next two to three years.

The rapidly-growing company recently opened its first London store in Oxford Street and has plans for a further four in the capital.

Tyneside entrepreneur, Dave Charlton, set up The Officers Club eight years ago to cater for the fashion-conscious male shopper with an eye for a bargain.

Now his empire has grown to a mammoth 145 stores across the country, partly due to a multi-million pound acquisition of 65 Hamells stores from the C&A portfolio earlier this year.

The acquisition was a seven figure deal which saw the company double its financial turnover overnight from £50m to £100m and increase store outlets from 75 to 140.

The Officers Club predicted at the time that profits would increase to £7m in the next 12 months.

And it would appear the predictions were right because the company is expanding and seeing growth in the current tough high street climate.

Expansions plans are also afoot north of the border - the company has also announced plans for a major store opening programme in Scotland.

Seven new Scottish stores have already been opened this year. Next year sees plans for several more stores across Scotland. A second site is on the cards for Glasgow and the company says it is keen to return to Aberdeen.

In the pipeline are plans for stores in Perth, Kirkcaldy, Ayr, Dumfries, Greenock and further sites outside of Edinburgh.

On top of this, the company is opening a prestigious new store in Sunderland, the city where managing director, Dave Charlton, opened his first outlet in 1992. The new store is 2,500 sq ft in size with a £150,000 shop fit.

Dave Charlton said: "We are opening on average two or three stores a week across the country, but opening our doors again to Sunderland customers is a real thrill."

Mr Charlton added: "Officers Club has got it right. Our value message is attractive to consumers. Our growth proves this."

By Deborah Bowyer