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Debenhams aims to be menswear top dog  

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.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Debenhams is one big discount house, so it is likely they will increase market share, just ruin the brands that trade with them due to their endless discounting. Is there a less respected store on the high street these days?

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  • Debenhams has become a low end discount house – all about margin and not product. I guess they are trying to replicate Primark’s impact on the womenswear market - quantity over quality. If that is what Creasey wants to achieve then he has been successful. The so called "Designer Brands at Debenhams" is a complete sham - the named designer has little or no imput in the product and is only interested in their franchise cheque! Is this really the future of menswear retailing in the UK?

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  • Oh Dear, another brand to try and dupe the public, only looks like this one will initially be designed outside Debenhams not in-house so at least it has a chance of not being watered down to fit into a discounted price point, although, note the caveat that it will eventually have exclusive ranges (for discounting) , the last line is the most telling, of course this will be included, if the markdown is too much and the "exclusive range" is not agreed by Nautica then this will go the way of the many other brands that Debenhams use to try and up their discount profile, it's almost become a factory outlet for many brands that loose their way or are tempted by the lure of volume, Ben Sherman being the most obvious.
    In a recession of course they can gain market share, very easy with their buying power to implement this current stratedgy, whats more difficult is to gain profit and offer value through design and innovation, which gives longevity through both tough times and good times.
    Debs is now firmly rooted in the discount sector, it has no idea or compulsion to change, under Belinda Earl it was at least knocking on the door of JL and HoF, these days i'm not even sure they know where the door is !
    PS-With Spring just around the corner do i spy a Promo on new lines before they have barely had time to become aquainted with their hanger, i think so.

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