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Men’s formalwear sales jump at Next and M&S

Next and Marks & Spencer have made massive value market share gains in men’s formalwear but seen their men’s casualwear sales shrink back.

According to figures seen by Drapers, Next’s men’s casualwear share fell 0.9% to 5.2% for the six months to June 20, with sources indicating there had been declines across all casual categories including knitwear, casual shirts, tops, T-shirts and polos.

Similarly, M&S lost 0.4% to command a 9% share despite the overall men’s casualwear market growing 8% to £1.8bn over the period. Debenhams was among the mainstream retailers to gain share.

By contrast, Next’s men’s formalwear market share by value grew 1.9% to 8.4% and M&S’s share jumped a massive 5.5% to 22.6%. The performance was even more impressive given that the men’s formalwear market as a whole retracted 6% to £550m over the period.

Sources blamed the drop off in men’s casualwear sales at Next on it having taken its casual ranges “too young”. One director of a multiple said: “Next has got slim-fit shirts and suits in formalwear but has managed to keep its appeal to a broad age range. In casualwear it has dropped the target age profile dramatically and gone a lot more fashionable.”

He added: “M&S’s casualwear ranges are just not quite right in fashion terms but it’s been really clever with formalwear, driving sales of its triple-pack poly-cotton shirts and squeezing more lines in off the same linear footage.”

This week, within its 26-week trading statement to July 31, Next warned that retail prices would rise by between 5% and 8% for spring 11 because of pressures on costs.

During the period, total retail sales rose 1.3%, while like-for-likes fell 1.5% including the Next Directory. Directory’s sales soared 7.8%.

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