From suits to sportswear: Local men’s suit store adapts to changing needs

Men's suits
Posted at 10:23 PM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 04:34:52-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - After 14 years of having his formalwear business, Philip Scotti is adapting to keep up with customers’ changing needs.

Employees at Philip Michael Fashion for Men are packing up the formal attire. At the end of the month, the Virginia Beach store on North Mall Drive will close and reopen down the street into Lynnhaven Mall.

Owner Scotti is hoping to capitalize on the mall’s foot traffic.

“Traffic helps boost sales,” Scotti said. “I felt the move would help our brand. We’ll have a nice, young, modern store that we’re going into.”

That’s not all that’s changing.

That store and eventually Scotti’s three other Hampton Roads locations will transition to casualwear. Customers will soon see fewer sports coats and more comfy clothes.

“Taking a look at our sales throughout the company, we’re going to have to pivot to what the customers are buying right now,” said Scotti.

Since the start of COVID-19, Scotti said sales plummeted by more than 55% as more people began working from home and big celebrations, such as weddings and proms, were canceled or scaled down.

“Suit wearing is nonexistent right now,” he said. “The only way people are buying suits at this particular time are for funerals.”

Even with deep discounts, the store is virtually empty on a Friday afternoon, days before a hallmark holiday where Scotti said they’d typically be busy with people looking to dress up for their sweetheart.

“Our suits are all $69.99 now or two for $120,” he said. “They just don’t need suits or dressy clothes for Valentine’s Day. They’re just not going out to restaurants.”

Still, Scotti remains hopeful the demand for suits will soon make a comeback as more people are vaccinated against the virus.

“We’ll survive,” Scotti said. “We’re a strong company. We will get through this.”

In the meantime, Scotti is excited to reveal some trendy looks at his new store, which opens March 1.

Click here for full coverage on open businesses.