By  on March 17, 2011

Men’s Wearhouse has an aggressive rollout plan for its successful store remodeling program.

This year, the company will remodel more than 100 stores in a plan that includes opening or revamping 135 units. As a result, by the end of 2011, nearly one-third of the company’s fleet of 590 traditional Men’s Wearhouse stores will be updated, according to Doug Ewert, president. “We’re projecting 170 stores will be done by the end of the year,” he said. Eventually, the entire chain will be remodeled.

The company is also planning to open between 20 and 30 stores in 2011. Overall, capital expenditures are planned at $90 million to $100 million, which will be used for the remodels, store openings and investment in technology for the company’s online and e-commerce initiatives.

This marks a significant uptick in the company’s remodeling efforts. Last year, 35 stores were revamped, Ewert said. New and remodeled stores have fixtures such as wooden cubby holes for dress shirts, better lighting and an updated color palette. Sportswear is merchandised at the front of the store with a “focal wall” for casual sportswear pieces.

The company singled out the Men’s Wearhouse store on 20th Street and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan as a prime example of the remodeling program. On the right of the entrance, Pronto Uomo Blue, the company’s private label denim and related pieces, has captured prime real estate. A large assortment of tailored clothing, which is the retailer’s main focus, is merchandised on the left and continues through to the rear.

At the back of the store is the company’s tuxedo rental operation, a key component now at every Men’s Wearhouse. In its fourth-quarter earnings call last week, the company said its tuxedo rental program has been “nothing less than spectacular.” Comps for rental tuxedos in the period were up 11.1 percent and Men’s Wearhouse believes that it rents one of every three tuxedos in the United States.

The New York store also has a special case for cuff links, more wall shelving, a new shoe display and “stacking tables” where sales associates can lay product down to help customers accessorize their purchases. That store also has a wooden floor, although Ewert said that was an existing feature of the space and will not be replicated in other stores.

He said every store merchandises sportswear up front and shoes toward the back. “The layouts are adjusted by space, but the cadence is similar in all the stores,” he said.

And customers are responding.

“The customer feedback has been outstanding,” Ewert said. “We had a good year overall with sales at Men’s Wearhouse up nearly 5 percent. It’s hard to see the instant impact of the remodelings, but long term, we believe it will have a positive impact.”

In the fourth quarter, same-store sales at Men’s Wearhouse rose 4.3 percent. For the year, comps were up 4.7 percent.

In preliminary guidance for the new year, the company projected earnings of between $1.71 and $1.81 a share on a sales increase of 8 to 9 percent for the corporation as a whole.

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