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Former Jos A. Bank veteran to launch online men's wear business

By Kristopher Fraser

Jul 27, 2015

With the men's wear market bigger and more booming than ever, a former Jos A. Bank employee has decided to take advantage of the current super star status of men's apparel. Steve Marshall, Jos A. Bank's former Divisional Vice-President, has teamed up with some of his co-workers at the Hampshire, Maryland-based chain to create Wilkes & Riley. The new online business will launch this November, and will offer a full collection of men's wear including everything from tailored clothing to sportswear.

Marshall is a retail veteran, having been with Jos A. Bank since 1999, and previously holding roles at Bugle Boy and Merry Go Round. Last year, Men's Wearhouse purchased Jos A. Bank for 1.8 billion dollars, and offered Marshall the opportunity to stay with the company, but he had no desire to move to California where their corporate offices are located. Instead, Marshall elected to remain in Maryland and use his years of merchandise experience to open a new company.

Wilkes & Riley to launch in November

Marshall will be self-financing Wilkes & Riley, but has plans to get some other investors involved as well. While Marshall will be the one spear heading the company, he will still have members from his team at Jos A. Bank to help him out, though he has not named any names, and they have chosen to remain anonymous at this time. Wilkes & Riley currently plans to offer two different levels of suits.

The first will be a full canvas model produced in Italy that will cost slight under 895 dollars, the second will be a less expensive half-canvas made in North America. While the production process has not yet been completed, the shirts will most likely be made in Italy. The reason behind Wilkes & Riley's online launch is because Marshall realized the high cost of opening a brick-and-mortar store and the booming business that has become men's wear on the web.

"We had reservations initially but the Internet business is exploding, especially in men’s, and a build-out cost for a store is a few hundred thousand dollars. We’ll do that eventually, but not in the first year," Marshall said to WWD. The official launch date for the website is November 10. Currently the website has a promotional banner up saying "We're working on something special", encouraging potential shoppers to sign up to become insiders.