Trend to ‘Semi-Formal’ is Driving Menswear Sales in Department Stores – WWD

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PARIS – Casualwear accounts for 56 percent of the men’s business, but office-appropriate looks are gaining ground and have secured a 24 percent share of total menswear sales in department stores.

Meanwhile, the share of occasion wear for men – which surged immediately post-pandemic – slipped to 5 percent, and athleisure roared ahead to 15 percent, figures released Monday by the International Association of Department Stores (IADS) show.

Menswear accounted for 16 percent of member department stores’ turnover, with entry-level and luxury labels accounting for 18 percent and 10 percent of sales respectively.

The IADS noted that the premium segment grew at the expense of the high-street category thanks to the return to the office, which requires more complex and expensive garments.

Yet given the difficult economic context and high inflation, male customers have become price-sensitive and spend less. “The high-street bracket was the most important with 45 percent of sales, followed by the premium segment with 25 percent sales and growing,” the IADS said in a press release.

While characterizing the men’s segment as “steady” amid a return to physical stores, the association flagged that the share of e-commerce is no longer growing, remaining flat at 17 percent.

“To keep this business dynamic, department stores launched new services such as Boyner with Boyner Now, a 90-minute delivery service which allows customers to order alternative sizes and try the items while the delivery person waits at the door for their decision,” it said, referring to the Turkish retail group.

Another challenge for department stores is a smaller average basket and fewer units per transaction, raising the specter of high inventory levels at the end of the season.

To stir business, department stores have found that pop-ups and capsules “remain an extremely powerful way to animate the product and brand offer,” the IADS said, mentioning a Jacquemus store takeover at Galeries Lafayette in Paris and a Lacoste x Netflix capsule and Calvin Klein swimwear pop-up at Swiss department store Manor.

According to The Style Pulse, a curated business-to-business marketplace and an IADS partner, menswear categories continue blurring and “customers are no longer looking for separate offers in suits, casualwear and sportswear, but are wearing all three at the same time.

“Consequently, as men’s fashion is no longer a collage of separate and very distinct segments, brands are not categorized and confined to specific stylistic boxes either,” the IADS said.

Trend forecasting agency and brand scout Nelly Rodi, another partner of the IADS, told members must-have menswear labels include Ami Paris, A.P.C., Carhartt WIP, Arte, Nudie Jeans, Les Deux, Isabel Marant and shirtmaker Seidensticker, while among those making a comeback are Gant, Fursac, Lacoste and Aigle.

IADS permanent members include the Beijing Hualian Group in China, Breuninger in Germany, Chalhoub in the UAE, El Corte Inglés in Spain, El Palacio de Hierro in Mexico, Magasin du Nord in Denmark and The Mall Group in Thailand. In total, its members represent more than 27 billion euros in annual turnover through more than 380 stores.

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