Charles Tyrwhitt founder Nick Wheeler has realised a childhood ambition by announcing plans to open a signature store on Regent Street.
Wheeler said that Regent Street and Park Lane were his favourite properties when playing Monopoly and he was delighted to be opening a store on the former on September. “Our aim is to open a small number of stores in the very best locations,” he said. “We don’t want to have a store on every street. We just want to be the best shirt-maker. Regent Street is the perfect location for us.”
Charles Tyrwhitt is Britain’s biggest mail order shirt company but underlined its commitment to the High Street by announcing plans to open 50 stores in the next few years. The Regent Street opening follows hot on the heels of new outlets in Canary Wharf and Bluewater, with a new flagship store in Jermyn Street set to be unveiled early next year, bringing the total number of Charles Tyrwhitt stores to 14, with prestigious outlets in the heart of London as well as New York and Paris.
Wheeler, who famously gambled on the classic car market to raise the cash to start his business in 1986, said he was delighted with the company’s progression: “Our quality, attention to detail and commitment to providing the best value for money sets us apart from the rest,” he explained. “We are proud of our traditions and want to increase our visibility on the High Street as well as ensuring our online customers have an enjoyable shopping experience.”
He said that the company will be looking to open in locations such as Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bristol and Cardiff, as well as Bath, Guildford and Tunbridge Wells, adding: “This is very much a long-term strategy but we are looking to embed ourselves in the psyche of people who want to wear great quality clothing.”
The aim, he says, is to offer clothes for successful working men and women – for both the boardroom and for weekends; the company’s primary focus has always been on quality, in both product and service.
Looking to longer-term expansion, Wheeler has no fixed timescale; the business is privately-owned and operated with almost no debt and there are no plans to sell or float the business.
“Our focus is very much on long-term growth,” he affirms. “We have identified 50 towns and cities that could support a Charles Tyrwhitt store and it is now all about the availability of suitable locations. If the right site comes up, then we will take it, but we are in no rush. It is very important to us that we get it right.”
The company has stores in New York and Paris of course, so is Wheeler considering a move into new international markets in the near future?
“It is very easy to get carried away with international expansion,” he says. “It is often far harder to say no than it is to say yes. There is ‘opportunity’ in every market, but ultimately it is about getting it right. I would prefer to be the best shirtmaker in the UK and the USA than the only shirtmaker to be represented in 50 different markets!”
For the full article, please see the October 2010 issue.