The formal menswear market has reported a strong start to spring as younger shoppers invest in a more tailored look.
This week HSBC bank coined the term ‘Yummies’, meaning young urban males, as a new consumer type, with some of the UK’s biggest menswear names backing the trend, if not the moniker.
Gieves & Hawkes managing director Ray Clacher said so far it was the best start to any season in the last five years, with its nine stores experiencing double-digit growth.
“There’s no doubt that young, stylish guys are going in for a more tailored look. The big push in the industry over the last 12 months has been about this: layering, mixing and match, three-piece suits,” he said.
Debenhams’ Hammond & Co collection by Patrick Grant is rolling out from 20 stores to 80 for autumn 14. The men’s formalwear line beat estimatesby 22% in its autumn 13 launch range.
Chris Scott-Gray, head of marketing and sales at Chester Barrie, agreed. “We now have a generation which knows that wearing a well-cut suit can make an impression and they are prepared to invest in that,” he said.
Thomas Harvey, head of design for menswear at Aquascutum, said tailoring had contributed to a “positive uplift” in sales: “The male consumer appears to be investing more in quality fashion and is increasingly more discerning with their style choice.”
Men’s spend on clothing is expected to be a long-term trend, with analyst Verdict Retail predicting the total market value will rise 25.7% by 2019, compared with 23.7% for womenswear.
Another of those benefiting was retailer Moss Bros, which this week posted a 42% rise in pre-tax profits for the year to January 25, 2014, as sales continued to climb. The menswear retailer made a pre-tax profit of £4.4m, up from £3.1m the year before. Group like-for-like sales increased 4.2% to £122.2m, with retail sales up 6.4%.
Online sales rocketed 20% and now account for 5.1% of total sales. On the back of this success, the company is launching three new own brands for autumn 14 to “change customers’ perception” that Moss Bros is a hire-only business.
The company is rebranding its three own labels to boost its ready-to-wear retail credentials. Slim-fit range Ventuno 21 is being renamed Moss London and will target a “style-conscious” customer; contemporary line Blazer becomes Moss 1851; and Moss Esq is taking over from the cheaper line Dehavilland.
Chief executive Brian Brick said: “We found that most people think of us as a hire company, but we are also a major suit retailer in the UK so we wanted to change customers’ perception. The new branding will give customers clarity to the offer and a better understanding of our own labels and which ones are right for them.”