Menswear fashion retailer Suit Direct is eyeing new UK locations as part of its expansion strategy in a bid to broaden its presence on the high street.

Suit Direct (1)

Formerly known for its presence as a concession in Debenhams stores, Suit Direct retail director Amanda Argent said post-pandemic was seen as an opportunity for the retailer to expand on to high streets.

Following a series of short-term lease trials, Suit Direct confirmed it is looking to position itself in “more prime and premium locations” on a longer-term basis.

Retail Week can reveal that Suit Direct is planning to open in cities including Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, London, Reading and Guildford.

Suit Direct currently operates 35 stores across the UK, both on the high street and in outlet locations, and stocks brands including Marc Darcy, Ted Baker and Farah.

Argent said: “The business is now very different to what it was. Historically, the business had relied heavily on the revenue that came from Debenhams. Post-Covid and with the collapse of Debenhams, we used it as an opportunity as a business to say we need to take this into our own hands. 

“We utilised that period in the middle of Covid to launch the Suit Direct brand on the high street. This was the first time the brand was going on to the high street with a full-price proposition, which was quite different.”

She added that the in-store experience is more important than ever for Suit Direct shoppers and building the brand’s presence through bricks-and-mortar is something it is focused on.

“I think a lot of brands are realising the importance of bricks-and-mortar and the conversation about the consumer experience is huge. For our business specifically, because it’s men’s tailoring and potentially helping that person in some key moments of their life, it is really important that we have that intimate time with the customer to give them our 1-2-1 expertise,” she said.

”The customer experience is really important so that is a massive focus for us as part of this presence on the high street.”

Savills director Josh Howe added: “We did a research piece to detail us a target list of the locations where they would perform best. At the time, there was a myriad of opportunities from the likes of Oasis, Warehouse, all these former fashion stores where Suit Direct could just step into. 

“It was about figuring out how the brand would naturally evolve, how it differentiates from the outlets and how it had stepped itself up from the concession part. Now they are looking at taking leases on with a longer-term view. 

“This is a continuing and ongoing process. We are going to continue hitting cities and securing sites in those locations. There’s still quite a few of those gaps within the country, we’ve got a target of 10 to 15 stores this year.”