Men’s suits specialist Moss Bros has revealed it wants to up its store numbers by 40 per cent as it takes advantage of attractive property deals in the recession.
Finance director Michael Hitchcock said it was a “buyer’s market” and had identified 40 “preferred locations” for new stores. He said the retailer was capable of opening eight to 10 stores a year, although he would not specify how many would be opened this financial year.
He today told The Independent: “The market is so much in favour of the buyer and you can roll out stores for very little cash outlay because landlords will do deals – but you have got to have a good covenant. They will not do deals with any Tom, Dick or Harry.”
Moss Bros has more than 150 outlets across fascias including Moss Bros, Savoy Taylors Guilds and Cecil Gee stores.
Retailers that are trading well are increasingly being offered attractive concessions by landlords desperate to find tenants, such as rent-free periods and contributions to shopfitting fees. Hitchcock said: “You can fit-out shops and it will not cost you a penny.”
Hitchcock said Moss Bros is now paying monthly rents, as opposed to quarterly, on 75 per cent of its stores.
Like-for-likes fell 3.9 per cent in the 16 weeks to May 23, while unit sales of suits were up 27 per cent, as men smarten up or for work and job interviews in the recession.