31 August 2021
The Weekly

Marks & Spencer has been one of Britain's biggest sellers of men's suits ever since 1939, when it sold its first flannel ones. But it emerged only 110 of its 254 clothing stores still stock suits. Formal clothing for work and leisure was already on the way out — but then the pandemic struck in 2020. Sales went into freefall as people worked from home and, in Zoom calls, wore anything they wanted. In the year to April, sales of formal wear at M&S collapsed by 15% online and an extraordinary 72% in shops, compared with a year earlier. The upmarket suit chain TM Lewin shut all 66 of its UK shops last year and Moss Bros reported pre-tax losses of £7.4mn for the year to January 2020. Over the same period, sales of casual wear were up 61% online. The same slump applies across the board in other shops.