With a business strategy tailored for growth, The Men's Wearhouse has made alterations even a haberdasher would be hard-pressed to follow. It's one of the largest specialty retailers of men's business and formal attire with some 1,165 stores throughout North America. Its primary operations are Men's Wearhouse, with more than 600 stores, and some 345 Men's Wearhouse and Tux stores that sell and rent tuxedos. It also has 100-plus stores in Canada under the Moores name. Men's Wearhouse sells discounted tailored suits, as well as shoes, formal wear, and casual clothes. Its K&G unit caters to thriftier shoppers and sells women's careerwear in most of its 100 stores. Chairman George Zimmer founded the firm in 1973.
In addition to men's clothing stores, The Men's Wearhouse operates about 35 dry cleaning and laundry shops under the MW Cleaners name in the Houston area. Farther afield, the company operates a growing corporate apparel business (nearly 10% of sales) in the UK. Turning to Europe amid soft business at home, the company in 2010 acquired two makers of corporate uniforms and work wear in the UK -- Dimensions Clothing and Alexandra -- for €61 million ($97 million) and combined their operations under a UK-based holding company that is 86% owned by Men's Wearhouse. (The company has the option of acquiring the remaining shares at a later date.) The two companies have strong sourcing operations in the Far East and offer popular brands. (Dimension's customers include some the UK's largest retailers.) The twin UK acquisitions complement the firm's corporate apparel and uniform program -- conducted by Twin Hill -- in the US, while extending its reach overseas.
The Men's Wearhouse rang up 80% of its fiscal 2012 (ends January) sales in the US, 11% in Canada, and 9% in the UK. Its Men's Wearhouse stores are located in 49 US states and the District of Columbia. In Canada, the Moores chain is present in all 10 provinces (About 75 of the stores are in Ontario and Quebec.)
Business at The Men's Wearhouse is on the rebound after a couple of lean years caused by recession and resulting high levels of unemployment, which decreased demand for professional attire. In fiscal 2012 (ends January) the company's sales increased by more than 13% vs. the prior year, after posting a 10% rise in the previous annual comparison. Profitability has improved as well: net income increased by about 78% and by nearly 50% in fiscal 2012 and 2011, respectively. Notably, more than $110 million of the $280 million in increased revenue in 2012 came from the company's operations in the UK. Also, changing fashion trends in men's apparel, characterized by a much trimmer silhouette in men's suits, shirts, and ties is helping to drive sales.
Now that economic and market conditions have become more stable, The Men's Wearhouse is looking to grow its store count, after closing stores in recent years. Ultimately, the company believes it can grow the number of Men's Wearhouse stores in the US from just over 600 in 2012 to about 750 over the next several years. Near term, the retailer plans to open about 25 Men's Wearhouse stores in fiscal 2013. In Canada its strategy is to grow Moores to about 125 locations in the next few years. To give a boost to its tux business, the company partnered with bridal maven Vera Wang to launch a new tuxedo rental collection -- called Black by Vera Wang --available exclusively at Men's Wearhouse in spring 2012 .
After 37 years as head of the company, Zimmer stepped down as CEO in 2011 and turned the job over to second-in-command Douglas Ewert. Zimmer, who remained chairman, continues to be involved in strategic issues and marketing. Ewert, now president and CEO of the business, joined Men's Wearhouse in 1995. – less