TORONTO, Canada — After opening a North American flagship in Toronto in 2012, Strellson, the upscale Swiss men’s wear brand, is planning a major expansion in Canada and the U.S. in a move designed to feed the Millennial businessman’s hunger for affordable work attire.
Over the next four years, the label, which targets 25- to 40-year-old professionals, will open eight to 10 freestanding stores across Canada, including one in Vancouver this fall, followed by 2016 openings in Ottawa’s Rideau Center and Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Center.
Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Montreal are also on the rollout list, according to Mark Altow, president of Strellson North America. The stores will be 1,800-2,000 square feet, he said, but the company is not ready to reveal the exact locations.
Strellson’s ongoing retail partnership with Canadian department store Hudson’s Bay Co. will change. The retailer currently operates 19 shops-in-shop for Strellson in its HBC stores, a number that will rise to 25, Altow said.
“Frankly, we were surprised by the numbers we’ve seen within the [Hudson’s] Bay [Co. stores],” said Altow. “A year ago, for example, we opened in the Bay at Yorkdale. We thought we would see a 30 to 40 percent increase in revenue. But in one year, sales went up 150 percent. That was a big ‘wow’ moment for all of us.”
Strellson will also be expanded in the U.S., according to Altow. Right now, the brand is carried in five Lord & Taylor stores and will be added to another unit soon, he said. In addition, the label founded in 1984 by former Hugo Boss owners Uwe and Jochen Holy, will move into three Saks Fifth Avenue locations and onto Saks’ e-commerce site for fall.
Both L&T and Saks are divisions of HBC.
Altow believes Strellson’s prices are appealing to its target customer.
“Our customer isn’t spending $1,500 and beyond for a quality suit. They’re spending $800 to $900. However, once you add in shirts, ties and other accessories it’s still a good chunk of money so you’ve got to deliver the best value for the dollar,” said Altow.
A hunger for something new has also driven consumers to the brand, he believes, pointing to Ted Baker, J Lindeberg and Tiger of Sweden as among the brand’s competitors.
“Our niche is the up-and-coming professional man,” Altow said. “They’re Millennial brokers, bankers and businessmen of all sorts who want quality, like their fathers, but with a level of style that supports their lives and reflects their generation’s spirit. They want men’s wear they can call their own.”