Suit revival in stores

By Susan Edmunds

Retailer enjoys rising sales as men embrace suits for a dapper new era.

Hallenstein Brothers' range of suits are a hit among younger men. Photo / Supplied
Hallenstein Brothers' range of suits are a hit among younger men. Photo / Supplied

Suits are back in fashion, and improving the fortunes of a menswear retailer in the process.

Hallenstein Brothers posted a net profit lift after tax of 17.7 per cent in the year to September, which it said was driven by rising sales of its suits.

General manager Glenn Hunter wouldn't say precisely how many suits had sold this year but he said the number was phenomenal.

"Kiwi guys are flocking to suits like never before as they discover how sharp they look and how good they feel in them," he said. "Our suit sales are growing almost faster than we can cope with."

Though the suit's popularity died off in the 1990s, new skinny and slim-fit styles have made them more appealing to younger men.

Hunter said men were now opting to wear suits for a night out as well as as to a job interview.

The company has also shifted its marketing focus to younger men, targeting those aged 18 to 30.

A big success for the firm has been increasing its percentage of male shoppers. Previously, 60 per cent of Hallensteins shoppers were women buying for husbands, boyfriends and friends. Now that number has dropped to 40 per cent.

Hunter said one of the ways the company tried to attract male shoppers was simplifying deals - such as "buy two shirts for $20" instead of "buy one, get one 60 per cent off". "We've also made sure we merchandise more with outfits, get more outfits on to mannequins, to help guys along a bit."

Hallenstein Brothers is launching its new season range at a cocktail party next week, hosted by three Playboy Playmates brought over from Los Angeles.

Hunter said it was a nod to the 1960s, the golden era of the suit.

A social-media marketing drive is running with the event.

Hunter said he was keen to try something different and a Facebook strategy appealed.

"You can invest a major amount of money on a TV commercial and we have done that while reinventing the brand. But we want to do something different with that money."

He said the brand's push to ask customers to like its Facebook page for a chance to come to the party had resulted in more than 36,000 likes.

"It's blown us away. And 79 per cent of the Facebook customers are male, which is super strong."

- Herald on Sunday

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