Menswear brand Luke 1977 will open four new stores by the end of 2020, driving towards its target of 20 UK stores by its 20th anniversary in 2021.
In November, the Bicester-based menswear brand and retailer will open a 1,800 sq ft off-price store in Cheshire, alongside a 2,000 sq ft full-price store in Sheffield’s Meadowhall shopping centre.
In early April, it will open its first full sport-concept store in Bicester Shopping Park. It is still in the planning stages, but the dedicated sport store will promote performance product with creative visual installations. The store will initially stock Luke Sport exclusively but will explore guest collaborations in the future to take up to 15% of the 1,500 sq ft space.
It will be followed by the September opening of its 1,700 sq ft West Midlands Designer Centre store.
The openings will take Luke’s total store count to 17, edging closer its “20 by 20” store target for 2021. The brand currently has 118 wholesale accounts.
Managing director Simon Poole told Drapers: “The recent rush away from bricks and mortar, plus the host of recent [retailer] failures means there are plenty of great sites available.”
Luke’s new Meadowhall store was previously occupied by competitor Pretty Green, which fell into administration before being bought by JD Sports earlier this year.
“While we would love more stores in places like London, our current growth is all based on extracting the best possible site with rents and overheads that allow us to make a modest profit,” Poole added. “The move to 20 by our 20th year shows that as a retail and online business we believe in both arenas. Online is our most successful area, but nothing promotes your brand better than a Luke [store] showcasing what you do and offering a fantastic experience.”
The move to a larger store portfolio will also mean the brand is less reliant on its wholesale partners, Poole told Drapers: “While I cannot stress enough how we value every one of our partners, we have found in recent years that a trend has developed to buy very conservatively. The added benefit [of more stores] is that we are not fully reliant on our wholesale partners for our minimum purchases. We will now buy totally independently across both businesses.”
“We felt to create a Luke retail theatre we needed to invest in more of Luke’s dynamic work, take more risks on product and offer a wider colour story, [which] shows a true reflection of our whole collection and attracts more customers,” he added.