British retailer Marks and Spencer pull suits off shelves

Oct 12, 2021
Marks and Spencer have announced they will stop stocking suits. Source: Getty Images.

Once the ultimate purveyor of quality formalwear, British retailer Marks and Spencer has announced they will no longer be selling suits after a recent decline in sales.

The decline in suit sales has been attributed to factors such as Covid-19 forcing many to work from home and embrace more casual attire.

According to Market Research firm, Mintel’s UK Menswear Report 2021 the sale of men’s clothing dropped 29 per cent in 2020.

Mintel Senior Fashion Analyst Tamara Sender said menswear sales had been “hard hit by the COVID-19 outbreak”.

“It has removed the main drivers for purchasing new clothes,” she said.

“Menswear specialists, in particular those specialising in formalwear, have suffered the most as men embrace more casual outfits.”

Wes Taylor, director of Marks and Spencer’s menswear told The Times the fashion retailer had recognised the increase in demand for casual workwear.

“During the pandemic, we worked hard to adapt our product offer to be more relevant 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 smartwear is now more focused on smart separates — easy to wear, stylish smart clothing that can be worn in lots of different ways.

“However, we still want to be the go-to for a great suit whatever the occasion.”

Although there has been a steep decline in formal wear sales some customers were caught unaware that Marks and Spencer had stopped stocking suits.

One customer took to Twitter to write, “I went into @marksandspencer on Saturday to buy a new suit and was quite annoyed not to find any. Now I know why.”

“Hubby needed a white formal shirt for our daughter’s wedding. Went to a shopping centre near Leeds. Neither M&S, Next or Sainsburys had any. Went into Leeds and finally found one at John Lewis for twice what I expected to pay.”

Marks and Spencer was founded in 1884 by Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer in Leeds and first started selling suits in 1939.

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