Coes suit sales 'bucking the trend' as high street chains suffer

Masks, gloves and protective glasses are worn whilst making alterations to clothing Picture: CHARLO

Coes is reporting strong formalwear sales despite a high street chains struggling - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Coes bosses say they are "bucking the trend" for poor suit sales, with high street chains suffering big losses as people work from home and weddings are limited to 30 guests.  

Fiona Coe, marketing manager at the Norwich Road-based retailer, said the company was now close to 2019 trading levels, but did not expect to get there until holidays and events returned to normal.

Fiona Coe, marketing manager at Coes

Fiona Coe, marketing manager at Coes - Credit: Charlotte Bond

She said: "Interestingly the formalwear side of our business has been thriving since reopening. Everyone else has moved out of the market. In terms of choice and selection I think we now have the largest in East Anglia.

"It's doing so much better than we anticipated and really bucking the trend.

"We assumed the demand for formalwear wouldn't be there after lockdown, but the people who are tentatively returning to the office might have changed shape or they may just fancy a new suit."

Coes named as one of Drapers top 100 inspiring independents Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Coes department store says it is nearing 2019 levels of trade - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Despite restrictions on the number of people allowed to attend gatherings, Mrs Coe said the store's formalwear hire business was "buoyant" due to the number of weddings that had previously been rescheduled for this summer.

This comes as high street retailer Ted Baker said revenue dived more than 44% to £352 million in the year to the end of January as the business was one of many unable to open its doors in the UK and elsewhere for large parts of the period.

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The company’s focus on suits and other more formal clothing was “adversely affected by the increase in working from home” during the pandemic, the firm said. 

Coes has recently invested in a new integrated digital system which, they say, will make it easier for shoppers to buy online or to click and collect, as well as still allowing them to shop in-store.

The investment was a "commitment to the future of bricks and mortar retailing", Mrs Coe said.

She added: "It's almost like the Apple Store in here now."

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