Lead Forensics

Clothing retailers to open more brick-and-mortar stores

Crew Clothing and Marks & Spencer have announced that they are opening new stores.

Crew Clothing is opening 40 new stores in coastal resorts and market towns rather than large cities, while M&S is investing in 20 stores. David Butler, CEO of Crew Clothing, said that the high street is far from dead:

“We have to react to customer behaviour, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that people are shopping in stores again. Our footfall is back to pre-pandemic levels.”

During the pandemic, many clothing retailers were forced to close their stores, relying instead on the expansion of online sales. Garment retailers increased their warehouse space, adding extra equipment from their garment rails supplier.

Though customers are returning to physical stores, online sales have not slumped. David Butler says that Crew Clothing has a multichannel approach, selling both online and in stores. While customers have been increasingly frequenting Crew Clothing’s stores, this has not been at the expense of online sales, which are up 40% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Crew Clothing had a positive Christmas and New Year trading period, boosted by the demand for party wear when Christmas parties returned. They also benefited from online sales partnerships with Next, Very and John Lewis.

Their best-selling garment is the Crew Clothing classic zip sweatshirt. There is an equal gender split between their customers, with men’s shirts and knitwear being key growth areas. David Butler said that their sales performance for 2023 is on course to meet expectations.

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