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Who said menswear was boring?

Jessica Brown

It’s been some time since menswear has been the space to be in, but it’s starting to look like an interesting place to be again.

It’s been some time since menswear has been the space to be in, but it’s starting to look like an interesting place to be again. According to figures seen by Drapers, the market is in slight ascent (see p2 for details). However, it’s important to note the growth seems to be driven by an increase in average selling price (volumes are down), and of course that selling price uplift may be down to inflation rather than a true trading-up consumer sentiment.

Some menswear retailers are benefitting from recent consolidations, in much the same way as specialist footwear chains have done in the past 18 months. The recent disappearance of Envy, Suits You and Young’s Hire left significant market share up for grabs.

Meanwhile, Officers Club became the latest victim of rising commodity prices when it took its last gasp and fell into administration this week for the second time in just over two years. Its loss, while terrible for its employees, will at least create a bit more room for others to breathe in men’s casualwear.

JD Sports Fashion is repositioning its branded casualwear chain Scotts upmarket and as Drapers went to press USC co-founder Angus Morrison was due to throw open the doors to a new retail concept, FR by Fashion Rocks, which taps into the premium menswear sector (for more on this go to www.drapersonline.com).

The theory that austerity budget-hit men want “the best or cheapest” at the expense of the middle market is a simplistic way of looking at things though. The likes of Next, Debenhams and Marks & Spencer are all seeing growth but you need to be a Voi Jeans or a Police to compete in this territory (i.e. on price) as a brand. For the rest, nudging upmarket is the only way to go but this time store openings and brand distribution must be kept well in check.

Jessica Brown Editor

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