Source, Philadelphia Business Journal, Natalie Kostelni
British shirtmaker Charles Tyrwhitt is opening a store at King of Prussia Mall as part of an aggressive push into the American retail market.
Charles Tyrwhitt opened its first store in the United States along Madison Avenue in New York in 2002. It’s ramping up its expansion. Now it has eight stores in the United States and anticipates 35 to 50 over the next few years. It has 30 stores in the United Kingdom.
“We are hungry for growth and the United States is a key part of that growth,” said Luke Kingsnorth, president of Charles Tyrwhitt’s North American operations. “We’re putting our foot down with accelerating our presence.”
For a retailer, opening more brick-and-mortar stores may sound counterintuitive in the current environment where companies are shuttering stores or retrenching but not for Charles Tyrwhitt.
“We have had rapid growth in the last six to seven years and grown the business,” Kingsnorth said. “That has given us the confidence in what works and the cash to grow.” The company is self-funded.
Charles Tyrwhitt, which started out as a mail-order business in 1986, gets 85 percent of its revenues from online orders. It takes the lead from its web sales to help select where to open a new store. In other words, it only sets up a store where it already has a certain density of customers. Its stores are around 2,000 square feet. At the King of Prussia Mall, Charles Tyrwhitt is located next to Ralph Lauren and near Hugo Boss and Suitsupply.
Its typical customer is a male anywhere from 25 to 55 years old working in a white-collar job and, though it has a casual clothes line, most of its sales are dress shirts, ties and suits. “Our customer is the guy who wears that uniform to work,” Kingsnorth said.
The brand is named for its founder Nicholas Charles Tyrwhitt Wheeler. Tyrwhitt sounds like “spirit” with a T. As part of its expansion plans, the retailer has looked along Walnut Street in Center City and “that area is definitely on our list,” Kingsnorth said. “We’ll see how King of Prussia does.”