New Look has long been a high street staple in the UK, known for its good value clothes and footwear that are mainly orientated towards a female audience. However, branching out from this format, New Look has unveiled its first standalone menswear stores. Mintel’s Senior Fashion Analyst, Tamara Sender, explores the new venture…

The two stores, located in the Cascades Shopping Centre in Portsmouth and in the Grand Arcade, Wigan, are the first of five menswear stores that New Look is planning to open this year. The Merryhill shopping centre in Birmingham and the Trafford Centre in Manchester are the next locations set to receive menswear stores, all sized around 1,500 – 2,000 sq ft.

Christopher Englinde, New Look menswear director said: “Menswear is a fundamental part of our growth strategy – our product ranges have improved over the last year with better quality and improved fits. Now is the right time to further strengthen our relationship with our customers and present our product in the best possible way by opening these new standalone stores.”

The menswear concepts have a more simple and masculine shopfit using materials including concrete, steel and aged copper. Dual gender stores will also be given this interior on the men’s side.

The men’s clothing market has been growing at a faster rate than womenswear. Sales of menswear grew 4.5% from 2013 to reach an estimated £14 billion in 2014. In comparison, womenswear grew 4% to hit an estimated £26 billion in 2014.

This is helped by a growing interest in men’s fashion. In response to this, more clothing retailers have branched out into men’s clothing. It therefore makes sense for New Look, which is heavily biased towards womenswear, to focus more on its men’s offering. The opening of standalone menswear stores and a revamping of its menswear departments in its mixed stores will help.

However, according to brand research from Mintel’s Menswear UK 2015 report, men still do not see New Look as stylish or trendsetting and it lacks perceived differentiation. As such, the retailer will have to focus on promoting its menswear offering more, changing its image as a womenswear retailer. This is unlikely to happen overnight.

Tamara Sender is Senior Clothing Analyst at Mintel. She researches and writes Mintel’s reports on all aspects of the UK clothing market. Before joining Mintel in 2010, Tamara worked as a news reporter at William Reed Business Media with particular emphasis on retail and leisure markets. As a multi-lingual journalist, Tamara has written for several national and international titles in both the UK and Latin America.

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