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Crew Clothing plans 40 new stores for market towns and coastal resorts

Tom Shearsmith
06 February 2023

British lifestyle brand Crew Clothing has revealed plans to open 40 new stores in the next three years, focusing its efforts on market towns and coastal resorts.

Speaking to The Times, David Butler, CEO of Crew Clothing, said: “We have to react to customer behaviour and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that people are shopping in stores again. Our footfall is back to pre-pandemic levels.”

“It’s why Marks & Spencer is investing in stores,” he added, noting M&S’s plans for 20 new sites.

Further details about store plans will be revealed in the future as plans are solidified.

Crew Clothing was founded in 1993 by Alistair Parker-Swift, a professional skier, as a menswear collection sold at the back of a windsurfing shop in Salcombe, Devon. The company, which is owned by Brigadier Acquisition Company, currently has 101 shops and over 850 employees throughout the UK and Ireland.

Last month, Crew Clothing reported that overall online sales grew by 15% in the 2022 Christmas trading period compared to 2021 levels, benefitting from its third party digital partnerships with retailers including John Lewis, NEXT and Very.

Total store sales also grew 15% in the seven weeks to 8 January 2023, versus the same period in 2021, as the return of Christmas parties and festive celebrations saw demand for partywear surge.

Crew Clothing’s flexible stock model allowed the company to fully leverage its relationships with NEXT, John Lewis and Very, “trading into demand” to ensure customers received their Christmas orders - despite the ongoing disruption from strikes.

The company has spent the last couple of years expanding its ecommerce business, and despite the switch back to more in-person shopping, total own website sales were level on 2021 and up 41% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Crew Clothing’s classic half zip sweat was the company’s bestselling product over Christmas, and men’s knitwear and shirts were also key areas of growth across the festive period.

Butler added: “The British high street is by no means dead. Our core customer demographic and our unique 50-50 gender split is evident in Crew Clothing’s Christmas performance. Current trading is in line with our expectations and we are positive on the current 2023 outlook as we continue to invest in our growth.”

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