Moss Bros’ Mister and Mister gay marketing campaign shows the formalwear retailer is not a “fuddy duddy”, says boss Brian Brick.
Brick said the campaign, which celebrates gay marriage with window displays in 80 stores across the UK, will help Moss Bros become a more “modern-day retailer”.
Brick said: “We are a wedding and occasionwear business and we welcome more people getting married.”
In a tie-up with Attitude magazine, Moss Bros features Union J band member Jaymi Hensley and his fiancé in store windows, alongside two male mannequins. It comes as the first same-sex wedding becomes legal in England and Wales on Friday.
It forms part of a wider piece of work around the Moss Bros brand after research showed it is best known as a hire brand, rather than a retailer. Brick aims to shed its image as an “old-fashioned” and “classic” retailer through more contemporary ad campaigns.
It is also rebranding its sub-brands –Ventuno to Moss London, Dehavilland to Moss Esq and Blazer to Moss 1851 – to make its ‘good, better, best’ ranges clearer to customers.
It comes as the retailer reported pre-tax profit of £4.4m in the year to January 25, against £3.1m the previous year. Group like-for-likes, including VAT, advanced by 4.2% in the period to £122.2m, as like-for-likes across retail rose 6.4%, while hire like-for-likes fell 6.4% last year.
Brick said 2013 was tough for everyone in the wedding sector, which Moss Bros speculated could be due to customers delaying weddings because they thought 2013 was an unlucky year to get wed.
In the first eight weeks of the current year, sales rose 7.3% and like-for-like gross profit advanced 6.4% on the comparable period. Brick said that trade in its hire business is coming back to normal.
Online sales rocketed 209% in the year and now account for 5.1% of total sales. In the year, Moss Bros launched its first localised websites in Australia, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Eire. Brick said he eventually wants to open sites in America, France and Germany.