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Toast grabs a slice of the menswear market

Contemporary womenswear retailer Toast will launch its first menswear collection for autumn 10.

Toast managing director Jessica Seaton told Drapers that the chain had launched a menswear range in response to demand from customers and to fill a gap in the market for “quirky but masculine” styling.

She said: “Menswear is a notoriously difficult area but we’ve done something different; it’s British and quirky but it’s also for real men. There’s a gap in the market for older men who want something that is not boring but not too young or high fashion.”

Toast will launch the capsule menswear range - called Amateur - in September. It will feature 26 core pieces plus accessories and nightwear. The collection, aimed at the 35-plus male, will be sold online via Toast.co.uk and its mail-order arm. If successful, it will be expanded and sold in Toast stores from spring 11.

Last week, Toast parent company French Connection reported an “encouraging” retail sales performance from its menswear ranges in the 14 weeks to May 14 and said there was growth potential for the category this year.

Menswear had dragged down French Connection’s performance over the previous 18 months.

Amateur has a tailored but rugged look, inspired by workwear, and features quality heritage fabrics. The range comprises jackets, shirts, jeans, trousers, knitwear, sleepwear, outerwear, footwear

and accessories and will have similar price points to Toast’s womenswear, with shirts from £79 and knitwear at about £135.

Some outerwear pieces will have a more premium price point than womenswear, to reflect investment in design. A moleskin coat with asymmetric curved front panels coming in at £295, compared with £195 for a moleskin funnel neck coat in the women’s collection.

The men’s collection has a more muted palette than Toast womens-wear, with navy, slate, and petrol blue featuring strongly.

Toast is also continuing its retail expansion plans. It was due to open its eighth store - a 1,046 sq ft site in Brighton’s Duke’s Lane - as Drapers went to press and is seeking sites in affluent towns with a view to opening up to four more this year.

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