USC introduced its slick new menswear format in Nottingham. But will the whole chain soon become female-free?
Two months after its launch, USC’s new menswear-only format on Clumber Street in Nottingham is performing 20% ahead of the rest of the 58-store chain. The shopfit, with exposed brick snooker tables, bright yellow balustrades and flock wallpaper, is reigniting USC’s male shoppers.
After two turbulent years of losses at the business, the new concept inspired owner Sir Tom Hunter to declare: “USC is back, and there is money in the tills.” Hunter has ploughed £4 million into USC, aiming to give it a new lease of life through menswear-only storefits and refurbishments.
USC marketing director Jo Bohling has confidence in the men-only concept on the back of season-on-season growth in the category over the past year. He says: “There is no retailer doing men’s brands as a destination in the multiple sector and we offer a compelling concept.”
However, the retailer is not saying sayonara to the ladies just yet, with USC still retaining a foothold in the category.
The whole of the USC business is being reconfigured to a mix of 75% menswear and 25% womenswear over the coming months, but three more stores will become menswear- only next year and the top 15 stores are scheduled to receive elements of the new fit.
Though the new design by no means smacks of machismo, Bohling says USC’s commitment to scaling back womenswear is unwavering. “We are cutting back on the fast-fashion, lower price-point offerings and leaving that to the supermarkets and high street. We are focusing on premium fashion.”