NPD Group

NPD Group

September 13, 2005 09:00 ET

The NPD Group Canada: Canadian Men Are Dressing Up For Success

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 13, 2005) -

Forty-five plus demographic prefers dressier apparel

Career focused men in Canada are dressing fashionably as a way to stand out in an ocean of business casual dress wear. According to The NPD Group, this trend has increased the combined sales of suits and dress shirts by 17 per cent or $118 million from May 2004 to May 2005. With men's suits and dress shirts now accounting for 14 per cent of total dollar sales, it has reached an 11-year high as a proportion of the overall men's apparel market.

This growth can be largely attributed to Canadian age demographics, particularly men age 45 and older. From May 2004 to May 2005, suits and dress shirts purchased by this age group has accounted for a 27 per cent increase (57 per cent to 62 per cent) in the overall $831 million men's suit and dress shirt market.

"Age continues to dominate the apparel market, as the 45 and over age group are driving overall sales," said Kaileen Millard, Director of Fashion, NPD Group. "We see this as a very significant dynamic in the Canadian apparel market and one which retailers and manufacturers should pay close attention to."

Sales of the overall men's apparel market in Canada increased by two per cent between May 2004 and May 2005. However, if the increased sales of suits and dress shirts were excluded from the numbers, the overall men's apparel market would remain flat.

One particular bright spot for retailers is the success of private label suits for men, which now accounts for 67 per cent of total suit category dollar sales and is a significant reversal from a decade ago.

"The success of private label suits is astounding when you consider that branded suits represented 72 per cent of dollar sales in 1994," says Millard. "We have now seen a complete reversal, as private label purchases have surpassed and now dominate the market with 67 per cent of total dollar sales in 2005."

From a retail perspective, all channels of suits and dress shirt distribution are enjoying respectable growth. According to NPD Group research, the men's suiting business continues to be dominated by specialty retail with an 82 per cent dollar share. However, department stores are outpacing other business attire channels with a 36 per cent increase in dollar sales from May 2004 to May 2005.

An interesting trend that The NPD Group continues to monitor is the battle between department stores and specialty retailers for the suits market. Dollar share gains in the suit category in department stores are up from 12 per cent in May 2004 to 16 per cent in May 2005, these have come at the expense of specialty retail, over the same time period specialty retailers have had a 6 per cent decline in dollar share.

Other key findings:

- Average price paid for suits has dropped

- Consumers reported in May 2005 vs. May 2004 a decrease from
$250 in 2004 to $235 in 2005

- Canadian consumers continue to demonstrate their willingness to
spend for quality

- High quality cotton rich dress shirts continue to hold their
value when other commodities, such as suits, continue to drop
in price

- Polyester grows in popularity

- The invention of microfibre, and other fabric technologies have
had a significant impact on how consumers see this fabric

- Younger age groups are continuing to spend less on apparel

- 35 to 44 - spent 25 in May 2004 compared to 23 per cent in
May 2005

About The NPD Group, Inc.

Since 1967 The NPD Group has provided reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today more than 1,400 manufacturers and retailers rely on NPD to help them better understand their customers, product categories, distribution channels and competition in order to help guide their business. For more information visit

About NPD Canada

NPD Canada, a division of The NPD Group, provides critical market intelligence on product movement and consumer behaviour in Canada. Canadian industries tracked include food and beverage, foodservice, apparel, footwear, consumer electronics, automotive, appliances and information technology.

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