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40 years marked at shop that is always in fashion

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From five-inch platforms and bell-bottomed trousers to kipper ties and gold lamè suits, a men's fashion store has survived it all.

Chris Scotney, the owner of Christopher Scotney Menswear, has decided to throw a big party this weekend to mark his shop's 40-year anniversary.

Dedicated followers of fashion have been invited to the store in London Road, Leicester, on Sunday to sample champagne and caviar, live music and magic to celebrate the a la mode milestone.

Chris, 65, remembers the opening day like it was yesterday.

He said: "I slept in the store the night before – I gave the window cleaner quite a shock the following morning.

"The day itself was a whirlwind. The shop was packed to the rafters – the people of Leicester were ready for something new, and they found it right here.

"Forty years of successful independent trading is no mean feat these days. I am delighted that we are weathering the recession remarkably well.

"The demand for well-made, luxury clothing has not waned. Our continued success is down to the integrity of the brands that we offer, my team's dedication to excellent service, and a sprinkling of good luck.

"So much has changed since 1972. I love the dynamic nature of this business. It is essential that we keep moving forwards – stand still and you get overtaken.

"I've every intention of ensuring we are still leading the way in another 40 years."

He said that one of the most exciting times was during the three-day week of the early 1970s, introduced by the Government to conserve electricity during miners' strikes.

The shop had "generators everywhere" to keep running.

Another of his favourite memories is of selling Giorgio Armani sweaters 25 years ago at £100 a piece.

"They sold like hot cakes. I had to go down to London to get fresh supplies," he said.

Daughter Anna, 36, a director of the firm, said: "Dad may be 65 but I don't think he has any thoughts of retiring.

"The shop started on one floor, but we now sell off three floors and run our hire department from a building we bought next door.

"People are happy to come and shop here although we're not in the city centre."

Anna cut her teeth in the fashion business at Harrods before returning to the family business nine years ago, becoming a director four years later.

She said: "I used to work here in the school holidays and while I was at university."

Of the shop's 20 staff, several have been with the business for more than 30 years, including tailor Nilesh Patel.

Anna said: "The store has a nice, family feel about it. One of our staff who has just retired, spent his whole working life here."

Chris said: "I'm planning for Anna to take over the business when I'm 70.

"I've really enjoyed it. It's given me some good times and a good life."

The celebrations on Sunday start from 11am, and will include a prize draw, a demonstration of Bentleys and a collection for Leicestershire hospice Loros.

40 years  marked at      shop that is always in fashion


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