Canadian Custom Menswear Retailer Surmesur Continues Store Expansion

  Toronto store. Photo: Surmesur

Toronto store. Photo: Surmesur

In October, Quebec City-based customer menswear retailer Surmesur will open its fifth location, and it plans to continue growing in order to serve its increasing roster of clients. We spoke with its co-founder to gain insight into its technological innovations and price competitiveness, as well as its real estate strategy which involves avoiding shopping centres. 

Founded by brothers Vincent and Frank Thériault in 2010, Surmesur manufactures and retails men's made-to-measure clothing which includes custom suits, shirts, blazers, trousers and other garments. It combines body-scanning and manufacturing technologies with traditional methods, boasting a catalog of over 8000 fabrics with a wide assortment of collars, buttons, and sleeves. Surmesur endeavours to keep its costs down to keep prices reasonable and as a result, custom shirts are priced from $60 and suits start at $375. After measurements and fabric/button/design choices are made, suits are ready in four-to-six weeks. 

Co-founder Vincent Thériault revealed that he and his brother created the company in order to "change the way men dress". He explained how he has never been a fan of shopping, so he sought to create a convenient experience for busy men who wear suits and other dressy apparel. Given the trend towards men increasingly expressing individuality in their clothing choices, Surmesur's customization capabilities proved particularly compelling.

  Inside the Toronto store, located at 108 Queen Street East near Jarvis Street. 

Inside the Toronto store, located at 108 Queen Street East near Jarvis Street. 

In October, Surmesur will open its second Montreal-area location in Laval. The 3,000 square foot shop is located at 2200 Le Corbusier Boulevard, close to popular Le Carrefour Laval shopping centre. Mr. Thériault explained how his company chooses to operate free-standing locations as destinations rather than locating in malls, partly due to the often high rents within Canadian shopping centres. Cost savings are passed on to customers and as a result, Surmesur's prices are often lower than competing made-to-measure menswear retailers.

Surmesur currently operates stores in Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. Its 1,200 square foot Quebec City unit, the company's first, has just expanded to 2,700 square feet in order to accommodate new business. Its Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto locations are all centrally located near central business districts, capturing business from men who typically wear dressier attire. Surmesur stores are ideally in the 2,200 square foot to 3,000 square foot range, according to Mr. Thériault, featuring clean white facades and interiors. 

Longer-term, Mr. Thériault revealed that his company will look to expand organically, and that it will consider new markets if locations prove strategic. Although no new locations can be revealed, he said that the company is open to expanding into new markets as opportunities arise. The retailer's popularity, primarily due to its customization and reasonable pricing, will see it potentially rival the best homegrown and international made-to-measure competitors.

Canadian Retail News From Around The Web: September 14, 2015