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Eleven rethinks offer with bespoke suiting

Premium indie Eleven in Sunderland is axing its womenswear offer from spring 11 as it looks to make space for a bespoke suit department.

The three-storey indie said it would stop selling womenswear in January due to the category underperforming. Womenswear accounted for 20% of Eleven’s turnover.

Eleven will reopen its lower-ground womenswear floor as a men’s formalwear floor in March, offering a made-to-measure service and bespoke suits. Customers will be offered a choice of fabrics, cuts and linings, with delivery five weeks later. Owner Neil Symington declined to say which tailors he is working with or where the suits will be made.

Symington said: “The womenswear market is difficult, with women looking at value rather than brands, whereas men are more brand loyal.”

Eleven is offering discounts of between 35% and 50% on its womenswear brands, which include luxury British heritage brand Aquascutum London, premium brand Paul Smith and Danish premium womenswear brand By Malene Birger to clear stock ahead of next season.

Symington said there was increased demand for men’s tailoring. He added: “I think now is the time to capitalise on it.”

Eleven, based in John Street, will also overhaul its website early next year to improve the user experience.

Symington said trade was “good” despite the snow, with online sales increasing as a result of the weather and general growth of the web. “We’ve been sending emails to push people onto the web. The people that have been coming into the store have made an effort to come in and therefore want to buy something.”

The indie opened in 2001 and stocks premium menswear brands such as Hugo Boss, Nigel Cabourn and Paul Smith.

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