Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Younger shoppers buoy formal menswear market

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.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • This look is very regional, and generally does not translate across the country as a whole. While the 'chav' look of circa 2003 has largely - though not completely - gone away, the formal look is on its backside as the generation that held it so dear has almost departed, and generally the average consumer now wants multi purpose smart/casual items that he/she can get maximum usage from, the formal style does not validate that.

    I think this is the case of something very small being talked up by creative accountancy to be something it isn't or ever will be.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • There has never been a better time to buy formalwear . The choice and price are amazing from the HIgh Street to the Row it's all looking good!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.