Marks & Spencer stores stop stocking suits as demand slumps
M&S has stopped stocking suits across more than half of its 245 larger-format stores as the retailer responds to sales of formal wear falling by 72 per cent.
Since 1939 Marks & Spencer has been one of the UK’s main purveyors of men’s suits. Marks & Spencer now stocks suits in 110 of its stores, which director of M&S menswear Wes Taylor said was a response to customers’ rapidly changing needs. He said: “Covid hit fast forward on the trend to more casual dressing that was already in train so our smart wear is now more focused on smart separates — easy to wear, stylish smart clothing that can be worn in lots of different ways.”
According to M&S, in the year to April, sales of formal wear were down by 15 per cent online and 72 per cent in stores compared to the previous year. During the same period, sales of casualwear were up 61 per cent online, and the store now stocks men’s joggers to keep up with current trends.
The move suggests there has been a permanent shift away from formal wear that will outlive the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, rails of matching trousers and jackets have been replaced by the “broken suit” — chinos and a shirt — as well as more casualwear.
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