Several former executives of Jos. A. Bank (NYSE:MW) are planning to launch a men's retail brand focused on business apparel. Known as Wilkes & Riley, the collection will first debut online in November, and then expand with physical stores after the first couple of years.
CEO Steve Marshall said the company will be based in Maryland, Baltimore Sun reported. Marshall, former VP of merchandising, left Jos. A. Bank at the end of May to join five other former employees in the new venture.
Their former employer struggled in recent years as its deep discounted strategy failed to bring in shoppers. However, Jos. A. Bank was acquired last year by Men's Wearhouse for $1.8 billion with hopes to turn the brand around. In March, Men's Wearhouse said it would lay off 122 Jos. A. Bank employees, or 15 percent of the workforce.
The new apparel retailer, Wilkes & Riley, will be geared toward a more affluent customer, selling clothing it refers to as "affordable luxury."
"Men are shopping more and paying attention to what they're wearing and how they're wearing it," Marshall told Baltimore Sun. "It's a really exciting time in the men's clothing business...We believe we can scale this company very rapidly." Several other clothing retailers have recently pledged to focus on expansion of their menswear collections, including Lululemon, Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman.
If the online launch is successful on Nov. 10, the company plans to start looking at business districts along the East Coast for physical store locations.
-See this Baltimore Sun article
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