Marquee Brands has revealed a comprehensive global strategy for Ben Sherman, almost a year after it bought the menswear brand from US firm Oxford Industries for £40.8m.
Ben Sherman autumn 16
“We are very serious about the brand and we’re focused on the global market as a whole,” said Cory Baker, chief operating officer of New York-based Marquee.
Speaking to Drapers at the preview of Ben Sherman’s spring 17 collection in London, Baker added: “The brand had moved away from its Britishness and lost some of its heritage. We’ve tried to move back to that in everything from reinstating the Union Jack logo to choosing the models for our campaigns.”
He said Oxford Industries had been more focused on its other brands, such as Tommy Bahama and Lilly Pulitzer, and felt the company was “almost parochial” in the way it approached the “vast” global opportunity for Ben Sherman.
“Now we are using a more strategic approach,” he said, pointing to investment in marketing, retail, online and product development.
“To give you an example, I’m sorry to say that we spent more on marketing in the US in our first day of ownership than the previous management spend in the last year.
“We’re aiming to double the size of the markets in the UK and US in the next 18 months and expect global sales to quadruple in the next five years.”
Ben Sherman is planning to open five stores in China by the end of this year and plans a total of 35 in the next three to five years. It will also open 15 to 20 stores in the Middle East over the same period, and a further four each in the UK and Germany in the next 18 months.
“We have 52 stores globally at the moment and we’re on track to be closer to 100 fairly soon,” he said.
He confirmed Marquee has closed five underperforming Ben Sherman stores over the past months, but insisted there are no more closures in the pipeline.
In the UK, retail, wholesale and ecommerce is being handled by menswear supplier BMB Clothing, which acquired the UK licence for Ben Sherman from BSGL 1963 as part of a pre-pack administration earlier this year.
Wholesale will continue to be a big focus for the firm and the design will continue to be located in the UK, he said. Product categories have been extended for spring 17 to include more kidswear and accessories, while womenswear will be re-introduced at a later date. Price points will remain broadly the same as they have been in previous seasons.
The brand is showcasing its spring 17 collections at trade shows including Pitti Uomo in Florence and Jacket Required in London.