SAINSBURY SMARTENS UP

Sainsbury’s is poised to take on Ted Baker and Reiss with the launch of Tu Formal, its first-ever full range of men’s formalwear and Tu Premium for men. From October, both ranges will be available online and in up to 250 Sainsbury’s stores nationwide.

The Tu Formal collection focuses on fabrics sourced from the UK and includes two British wool three-piece suits (£160). The 100% wool tweed fabric is produced by a family-owned mill in the Yorkshire Dales which has been producing wool fabric for the past 150 years. This is the first time a UK supermarket has stocked men’s suits made with fabrics produced in Britain. They will be on offer alongside a wider range of jackets made with the iconic Scottish fabric, Harris Tweed (£130).

Sainsbury’s 20-piece Tu Premium menswear collection – the first premium supermarket clothing range for men – encapsulates key trends for the season, with sharp tailoring and high-quality fabrics, such as jeans in four-way stretch denim and wool blend coats and knitwear. Statement pieces include a camel Crombie coat (£60) and wool borg collar jacket (£55), while accessories include wool beanie hats (£8).

Sainsbury’s clothing business grew by over four percent in the last financial year and menswear is the fastest growing clothing category.  Sales of menswear increased almost 13 percent in the year to September 2016. Wool-rich suits and blazers were standout performers – Sainsbury’s sold over 1,200 Harris Tweed jackets last Autumn/Winter season, with the range performing particularly well online. These results gave the retailer the confidence to invest in a much broader, on-trend collection for this season.

Last year the UK menswear market was estimated to have grown 2.8 percent, more than twice that of the women’s clothing market and is forecast to grow by 12.3 percent over the next four years to reach £16.3 billion by 2021.

The launch of the two new menswear collections follows the success of Tu Premium for women, which launched in September 2016 in response to growing customer demand for the Tu brand to be bolder and more confident with its fashion. The collection enjoyed strong sales from the outset, with a black leather biker jacket (£95) selling out online in just seven days.

Sainsbury’s Commercial Director, James Brown, said: “Menswear is the fastest growing area of Tu clothing and, having had a fantastic response to our premium womenswear launch, we wanted men to have a similar choice of high quality, on-trend styles at a fantastic value. The new Tu Formal and Tu Premium menswear collections, designed to be a cut above typical menswear supermarket clothing ranges, allow us to go head-to-head with high street brands.”

Sainsbury’s is the UK’s sixth biggest clothing retailer by volume and tenth by value. Over the past three years, Tu clothing sales have grown by more than 20 percent.