RW&Co. suits up

Hoping to fill a gap in the mid-range fashion world, the retailer turns its attention to workwear.

This story appears in the May 2015 issue of strategy

RW&Co. is looking to fill a void in the mid-priced fashion landscape. The Reitmans-owned men’s and women’s casual retailer, which has 80 locations across Canada, is focusing on workwear and positioning its new line of suits as a valuable option for young professionals.

The move comes as comparable retailers, including Mexx and Jacob, have shut their doors here. “Our business has really [stepped in] to support a niche in the marketplace,” says Rita McAdam, VP of marketing and visual presentation for RW&Co.

Working with Montreal’s Newad and media agency OMD, the retailer recently launched a video and PR strategy all around driving young consumers to its new Suit Lounge offering (both in-store and online).

RW executed a cheeky marketing stunt recently, filming consumer reaction to 25 male models strutting their stuff around Place Ville Marie in Montreal, searching for a way to complete their outfits. The resulting video, featuring the shirtless and pantless men, eventually finds them at the mall’s RW&Co. location where they’re able to don their dapper new looks.

The video is being used as digital pre-roll online, on social media and being pushed out through bloggers and influencers as part of the store’s larger attempt to position itself as a place to go for workwear.

That strategy comes after the retailer embarked on consumer research last year, including focus groups and individual interviews, and found that many young professionals – men in particular – didn’t know where to go to find affordable workwear, McAdam says.

“We’ve been working really diligently to refine our offering, particularly in suiting and workwear, and so we’re ready to tell the world – it’s time for us to take our place.”