U.K. Workers Have Rediscovered M&S Trousers in Return to Office
British consumers freed from lockdowns have rediscovered trousers and suits again. Or so Marks & Spencer Group Plc’s latest numbers suggest.
Demand for trousers and formal suits at the retailer picked up since September, when people returned to offices and children headed back to school. Sales of suits have climbed 3% and trousers are almost 9% higher than two years ago, before the pandemic started keeping many office workers at home.
Sales of M&S’s wool-and-polyester Ultimate suit, which sells for 149 pounds ($202), are currently up 19% on two years ago, Chief Executive Officer Steve Rowe said on a conference call.
“Very good value and quality it is too,” Rowe said. “People who haven’t had to wear a suit for nearly two years are buying them again.”
British workers are returning to offices following a vaccination rollout across the country, which is helping to keep the severity of cases down even as Covid-19 infections continue to rise.
The lunch hour is almost back to normal in the City of London and Canary Wharf, at least if sales of Pret A Manger Ltd. cappuccinos and five berry bowls are the measure.
During months of lockdown, working from home and conducting zoom calls in casual clothing became the norm. The demand for more relaxed attire remains high as well, according to Rowe.
“People are dressing more casually, definitely, but here we feel we are well-placed to meet that need too,” said Rowe.
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