Gieves & Hawkes saw a double-digit year-on-year increase in sales over December, as it ploughs ahead with its international and domestic retail expansion.
Specific trading figures will be announced in March, but Ray Clacher, managing director of the men’s tailoring business, said: “It was a very strong end to the year. The UK, which accounts for around 25% of global sales, has really turned around.
“Strong domestic performance has not been the case for years, but we’re finding that customers want quality product. Our autumn 14 collection proved to be our most successful ready-to-wear collection yet and our Savile Row refurbishment, which was completed in October, is exceeding expectations.”
He added: “The strength of the domestic market gives us confidence to do more elsewhere.”
Clacher said Greater China, which accounts for some 35% of Gieves & Hawkes’ global sales, remains a challenging market, but he revealed the company is opening new, owned retail stores in Singapore, New York and Dubai this year.
A 1,500 sq ft Singapore store will open in February at the Paragon shopping mall, stocking ready-to-wear and personal tailoring. It will be followed by Gieves & Hawkes’ first US flagship on Madison Avenue in New York in the third quarter of this year.
“We are currently stocked in department stores in the US at the moment and, while this does not signal a big retail rollout in the US, it is a big move for us. The 2,000 sq ft store will carry ready-to-wear, bespoke and personal tailoring and will mirror the 7,000 sq ft Savile Row flagship on a smaller scale.”
He said the retailer is working with a new partner in the Middle East, so there will be more to come in that region. “The US and Middle East are new but important regions for us.” The Dubai site has not yet been confirmed.
In the UK, Gieves & Hawkes will re-open a store at the Mailbox in Birmingham in May, after it closed two years ago while the shopping centre underwent a £50m revamp.
“We are open to new stores in the UK where we can do it, when the store and retail mix are right,” added Clacher. “We definitely want to do more in London and we’d look to the Sloane Street/Knightsbridge area again, east London, with areas such as Canary Wharf, the City and maybe Hoxton and Shoreditch, which could be interesting for us.”
Gieves & Hawkes currently operates eight stores in the UK, a wholesale business in China and concessions in Japan and the US.