The Business On... Brian Brick, Chief executive, Moss Bros
Thursday 31 March 2011
Suits you, Sir!
Yes, very droll. But also very wrong. For while Mr Brick's father did indeed found Suits You – and he and brother Alex subsequently built it into the Speciality Retail Group chain – the family sold the business after two decades in 2005 for a handsome sum. And now it is in administration. Moss Bros, meanwhile, which Mr Brick has run since last January, is doing rather better.
Well, it's still in the red – to the tune of £2.7m in 2010 – but Mr Brick has reduced losses by a third over the past 12 months. Both sales and rentals are up – not bad going in such a difficult market for consumer spending – and the company is selling its 15 Hugo Boss stores back to the fashion house for £16.5m, which will pay for an overhaul of its remaining stores and a better online offer. It is also moving into the bespoke market.
So Mr Brick knows what he's doing then?
So he should – he's been in the business almost all his life, one reason why struggling Moss Bros was so keen to hire him last year. Now 50, Mr Brick was a regular helper from boyhood onwards at his dad's business Brick's Manshops (which eventually became Suits You). Men's tailoring is in his blood.
And what's his secret?
He has a reputation for having an eye for detail, but he's also instinctive about branding and fashion. Moss Bros has already upped its game in-store, repositioning its own brands, such as Savoy Taylors Guild, and introducing new ones, from more trendy names such as French Connection and Peter Werth.
And now they're making suits for customers too?
Yes, at much more affordable prices than, say, Savile Row. The Savile Row Bespoke Association is a little sniffy about Moss Bros's move into made to measure, but it seems to be working.
What else is there to know?
He's married to Simone, has three children, and lives in Stanmore, on the edge of London. He's a season ticket holder at Arsenal.
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