Suitsupply continues to add to its store count in the U.S.
The Amsterdam-based men’s wear retailer will open another New York store later this month at 650 Madison Avenue at 59th Street, bringing the number of stores it operates in the U.S. to six. The others are located in Manhattan’s SoHo district, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood.
The company will also open units in Houston, Denver, Seattle, Las Vegas and Scottsdale, Ariz., before the end of the year, with a San Francisco store set for early 2014.
Suitsupply, which is known for selling sharply priced suits with European styling, has just under 50 stores worldwide. Suits start at $399 and go to around $1,000 for off-the-rack. Made-to-measure is also available and starts at $1,100 and goes up to $2,000 or higher depending upon the fabric. The suits are designed in-house of Italian fabrics, and production is in the Far East.
Fokke de Jong, founder and chief executive officer, said he had expected Suitsupply to be successful in the U.S., but the results came “faster than expected. It’s nice to see our expectations come true.” The SoHo store was the first to open in the States, in June of 2011, and that store is expanding from 5,000 square feet to nearly 20,000 square feet over four floors at 453 Broome Street.
He said he believes the company offers a unique take on tailoring that has connected with the American shopper. “Our fits are good, and we put a lot of time and effort into training our people because that’s the most important thing you need in the tailoring world.”
He said he would like to open additional stores in the U.S., but it’s “challenging to find enough people who want to be in this business,” he said. He said Suitsupply brings employees to Europe to be trained.
The Madison Avenue store, which will have its grand opening on Oct. 3, is a logical next step for the brand, de Jong said. Since the SoHo store opened, Suitsupply found that it was “shipping loads of goods into Midtown. We have a huge customer base there.” Although the retailer would send cars to bring customers to the downtown store, a lot of men were resistant to making the trip. “So we’re moving up,” he said.
The 8,000-square-foot store will have street access on 59th Street, but the selling space will be on the second floor. The lower level will be used for displays and marketing images.
De Jong said opening on Madison Avenue is not “for ego. We’re taking a second floor, and we’re not [moving away] from our concept. We did the same thing in SoHo. But this is a very central location, and it’s where our customer works.”
The store will hang at least 800 suits, along with 600 shirts and 700 ties, said Nish de Gruiter, who runs the U.S. operation. There will be an area in the back of the store designated for private appointments. “A client can make an appointment and we’ll have the whole room set up for him,” said de Gruiter. “Then we’ll deliver the merchandise to him.” The store will have a tailor on site who does alterations for a nominal fee while the customer waits. De Gruiter also revealed that Suitsupply has partnered with Audi to drive customers to the store to shop. “This is the first store to offer that service,” he said. “We want to make everything as easy as possible.”
Although the store continues to focus primarily on tailored clothing, the sportswear range has been expanded lately. In fact, the company has collaborated with Baldwin Denim, which is producing a new limited-edition midrise slim-fit jean for the company in 13-oz. red-line selvage denim that is designed to be worn with tailored blazers. Suitsupply also has an exclusive footwear line from Antonio Maurizi.
“Suitsupply is for a guy who wants a suit, but is looking for a one-stop shop,” de Gruiter said.
Outside the U.S., Suitsupply now operates company-owned stores in Germany, England, Italy and Belgium. It is preparing to enter Switzerland and Canada as well this year. In Russia, Belarus and Mexico, Suitsupply has partnered with local companies to open stores.
The company just opened its first store in Shanghai last week, a unit that de Jong said was designed to test the waters in the Chinese market. “China is a completely different animal,” he said. “But that’s the nice thing about retail. You can experiment every day.”
De Jong declined to provide a volume figure for the privately held firm.
Right now, de Jong said, the company doesn’t have plans for further Asian expansion. “We’re looking, but we’re taking one step at a time,” he said. “We need to plant a seed first like we did three years ago in the U.S.”
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