Debenhams has set its sights on overtaking Marks & Spencer and Next to become the biggest menswear retailer by market value, according to the department store chain’s trading director.
Debenhams trading director Adam Creasey said it is looking to continue to grow its menswear sales through the sort of deals that this week saw it become exclusive UK stockist for US sailing brand Nautica.
Creasey said: “Why are we doing this? On menswear, growth has been constant – 20% – over the last three years. What we want to do is gain market share. We’re currently third behind Marks & Spencer and Next.”
The deal represents Nautica’s UK re-entry after an absence of almost 10 years. The brand, owned by VF Corporation, which also owns brands such as Wrangler and Timberland, will launch in 21 Debenhams stores on March 12, and on Debenhams.com on March 5. The aim, added Creasey, is for it to be an “all-store” brand.
Retail prices for the 126-piece collection, which includes striped polo shirts, checked shirts and knee-length cargo shorts, range from £20 for a baseball cap to £150 for a seersucker jacket. Debenhams will buy from Nautica’s global collections but in the long term will look at introducing product exclusive to Debenhams.
The spring 12 range will take up about 16,000 sq ft in stores, with the space created by cutting about 10% of that given over to other brands, none of which have been axed.
Before the signing, Debenhams researched consumer recognition of Nautica. Creasey said a “surprising percentage” believed it was still available in the UK. It exited in 2003 after its acquisition by VF Corporation.
Debenhams is undecided over whether to include Nautica in its scheduled discounting.