Indochino on Tuesday announced four new stores opening this spring in the southern U.S., in Charlotte, South Carolina (Feb. 23), Houston (March 2), Austin, Texas (April 20) and Dallas (April 27), part of plans for an expansion this year that will also include new locations in Atlanta, Denver and San Diego. Each store is about 3,000 square feet, according to a company press release.
The Canadian bespoke menswear company began in 2015 as a pure-play e-commerce retailer and has opened physical showrooms since; its new stores in North Carolina and Texas will bring its physical footprint to 24 locations in North America, according to the release.
The retailer brings ready-to-wear prices — suits start at $399 and shirts from $79 — to custom tailoring. Customers work with a personal stylist, who assists them in designing a suit or shirt, choosing from "millions" of possible combinations of superior fabrics and personalization options. Garments are made to a customer's precise measurements and shipped to him directly within three weeks, according to the company.
Indochino has put its millions of dollars in investments to good use, expanding a network of showrooms across North America. The company two years ago took in $30 million from China-based clothing manufacturer Dayang Group and previously raised more than $17 million from investors, including Highland Capital Partners and Madrona Venture Group. The Dayang investment included a five-year agreement for production of new suit designs, tripling of suit and shirt fabric selections, and quadrupling of personalization options both online and in stores.
The retailer says it has carefully chosen its new locations, which are located in business hubs close to thriving young professional populations and with easy access for out-of-town customers. The four stores slated to open this spring will be catering to "thousands of customers" already shopping at Indochino online, according to CEO Drew Green, who called those existing customers great ambassadors of the brand.
"Indochino was borne out of the belief that custom clothing should be available to everyone," Green said in a statement. "Each time we put down roots in a new city, there is an opportunity for millions of men to experience the shopping concept of the future."
Once pure-play e-commerce retailers like Indochino (along with Warby Parker, Untuckit and mattress upstarts like Casper and Leesa) are opening more physical locations in order to take advantage of the high-touch selling opportunities inherent in having stores. That's in stark contrast to the "retail apocalypse" headlines of last year (and continuing this year despite healthy holiday retail sales), which were driven primarily by store closures. Major U.S. chains announced 6,955 store closures in 2017, according to a report from consulting firm FGRT emailed to Retail Dive earlier this year. Factoring in small and independent retailers, the total U.S. store number last year fell for the first time since 2009, according to the report, citing statistics from Euromonitor International.
That decline was driven in large part by the struggles at apparel retailers and regional malls (which are themselves skewed toward apparel), which have led such malls to expand their tenancies to grocery and "everyday goods" retailers and to mixed uses like leisure and entertainment, according to FGRT's report. But the collapse is also somewhat exaggerated, with many retailers, notably grocery and dollar stores, actually expanding their physical footprints; major retailers opened a net 1,785 stores, boosting off-mall centers like strip malls, FGRT said. Plus, super-regional malls, which are leisure as well as retail destinations, "registered solid occupancy rates across 2017 despite the impact of retail bankruptcies," FGRT said.