Marks & Spencer to cut back on selling suits

Marks & Spencer to cut back on selling suits
Retail giant has been selling suits since 1939

Marks & Spencer is cutting back on one of its key staples: men’s suits.

During the pandemic, with the majority of employees forced to adapt to home-working, it seems that smart office wear is slowly falling out of fashion, with M&S stocking suits in only 110 of its 254 clothing stores, The Sunday Times reports.

Instead, the retailer is favouring casualwear, with tailoring being traded for looks comprising shirts and chinos.

M&S states that in the year to April, sales of its formal wear decreased by 15 per cent online and 72 per cent in stores compared to the previous year.

Sale of casual wear, meanwhile, went up by 61 per cent online in the same time period.

The retailer has been selling suits since 1939, making its first men’s suit out of flannel.

According to YouGov, one in five people want to work from home permanently post-pandemic, while more than one in three (37 per cent) said that they would like to work from home “some of the time”.

If remote working increases, the compulsion to “dress for work” will, in turn, decrease, thus rendering smart office wear somewhat obsolete.

Wes Taylor, director of M&S menswear, told the paper: “During the pandemic we worked hard to adapt our product offer to be more relevant to customers’ rapidly changing needs.

“Covid hit fast forward on the trend to more casual dressing that was already in train so our smartwear is now more focused on smart separates – easy to wear, stylish smart clothing that can be worn in lots of different ways.

“However, we still want to be the go-to for a great suit whatever the occasion. Lots of men want help buying a suit from an expert so during the pandemic we also launched online video consultations.”

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