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Casualisation of men’s wardrobe driving department store sales

By Rachel Douglass


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Ami Paris, Bed JW Ford and Givenchy all SS24. Credits: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

Throughout recent seasons, certain shifts have been underway for menswear. Driven by the return to offices, the rise of “semi-formal wear” has taken precedence over the male wardrobe. It is a trend that has only been reaffirmed by the sector’s increased reliance on fluidity, the prominent demand for relaxed clothing and, of course, the ever present ‘quiet luxury’ aesthetic that has defined the shopping habits of many.

This is according to a new report by the International Association of Department Stores (IADS), through which the organisation explored the “steady” menswear category and its impact on such retailers at a period of time where the consumer wallet has never been more capricious. While there is no doubt that, like others, male consumers have become price-sensitive, and therefore less likely to spend, the IADS said that their “appetite for fashion remains stable”, and as such, department stores are seeing certain patterns of growth for the category.

Louis Vuitton pre-fall 24, Denzilpatrick SS24 and Doublet SS24. Credits: Left: Louis Vuitton, Centre and right: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

‘Brands are not categorised to specific stylistic boxes’

The turnover share for men’s fashion continued at a stable average of 16 percent for the total business of IADS members. When it came to price points, luxury sales stayed at a solid 10 percent share, compared to entry-level’s 18 percent. This was topped by the premium segment, which held a 25 percent sales share – and showed signs of growing. For the association, these figures reflected a wider shift in men’s behaviour, dominated by economic concerns and spending capabilities that see them steering towards high-end categories without entering the luxury territory.

A blurring could also be seen among the category’s clothing itself, with men increasingly merging tailoring, casualwear and sportswear throughout their dressing as a whole. As stated by IADS partner The Style Pulse, men’s fashion “is no longer a collage of separate and very distinct segments, brands are not categorised and confined to specific stylistic boxes”. While casualwear was still cited as a “driving force” holding a 56 percent sales share, following office wear at 24 percent, evidence of the B2B platform’s insight could be seen in the growth of the more fluid athleisure category, which saw its sales share rise 15 percent across the total business of IADS members. It marked the category’s firm departure from sportswear, a segment it once would have been considered a trivial part of.

E-commerce is a ‘priority for all’

Dior Men, Hermes and Amiri, all SS24. Credits: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

The organisation went on to highlight the need for dynamic operations among department stores, in light of these changes among menswear. For example, while e-commerce has held onto a stable 17 percent sales share – only confirming the return of consumers in stores – IADS noted that it was still a “priority for all”, with offers such as efficient delivery services being among those that could help in cementing interest in these platforms. In contrast, physical store experiences were also highlighted as powerful ways to animate product offers, with the likes of pop-up stores and collaborative capsules being leading authorities in this area.

IADS emphasis on these projects came as the organisation called on department stores and retailers to ensure such operations remained profitable in the “current cost context”. In its conclusion, the association said: “For some retailers, the purchasing decision is getting more complex, with fewer units per transaction (UPT) and a smaller average basket. As a consequence of inflation and slower sales in some cases, department stores are facing issues when it comes to the level of inventory and end-of-season stocks.”

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