LONDON — British department store John Lewis & Partners, where customers can find everything from lamps and frying pans to flat-screen TVs and computers, is putting a fresh spin on men’s wear in a bid to speak to multiple generations, street and sneaker devotees and necktie-free urbanites.
The retail stalwart, which also owns the upmarket supermarket chain Waitrose, has held relatively steady in the crisis that is sweeping the British high street. The store continues to invest in its store real estate, own-brand merchandise, staff training and has been swinging the spotlight onto own brand and exclusive products that customers cannot buy anywhere else.
It’s a tough time for British brick-and-mortar clothing retailers in particular. They’re falling victim to online competition, fast-fashion and streetwear competitors, as well as luxury brands keen to woo younger shoppers with entry-price merchandise such as sneakers and T-shirts.
Marks & Spencer is a prime example of the struggle so many are facing: On Thursday the retailer said in a terse statement that its managing director of clothing and home, Jill McDonald, was leaving the business after two years.
M&S clothing has been struggling for some time, a victim of long-standing supply chain and sizing issues and of a younger
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