Fashion entrepreneur Touker Suleyman is planning to significantly increase the number of shops in the UK for his men’s and women’s formalwear brand Hawes & Curtis, but it’s likely none of the new stores will be on the high street.
Suleyman told fashion retail magazine Drapers that shopping centres are “a safe haven, especially when we have bad weather,” explaining that “People don’t want to walk around a high street in the cold weather or rain.”
The Turkish Cypriot businessman, who also appears as a panellist on the BBC’s hit investment reality show Dragons’ Den, added that stores in shopping malls “are outperforming our high streets by 20%.”
The comments were made to the trade publication earlier this year, when Suleyman was discussing his plans to open between six to eight new Hawes & Curtis stores, primarily in shopping centres, in 2023.
Hawes & Curtis currently has 14 stores across the United Kingdom. Ten of them are in the capital London, one is in the Scottish capital Edinburgh and there are three single stores in Leeds, Milton Keynes and Croydon.
Six of the current 14 Hawes & Curtis stores are located in shopping malls: Brent Cross Centre, Canary Wharf, Westfield Stratford City, Westfield White City, and Whitgift Shopping Centre in Croydon, which are all in Greater London, as well as Centre MK in Milton Keynes.
According to the Drapers report, the business is eyeing up to eight new sites in shopping centres in a variety of key city centre locations, such as Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Cardiff and Reading.
Hawes & Curtis’s first store in the Piccadilly Arcade
Hawes & Curtis was founded back in 1913 and opened its first store in the Piccadilly Arcade. Known for its fine tailoring and quality matching accessories, over the years the business has seen many distinguished customers walk through its doors, including the Duke of Windsor, Lord Mountbatten, and Fred Astaire. However, over time the brand’s popularity waned.
In 2002, Suleyman stepped in to buy Hawes & Curtis, which was by then struggling and massively in debt. In less than a decade, the fashion mogul transformed the business into a globally renowned retailer.
Suleyman, who turned 70 in August and has two grown-up daughters, was born in Mağusa / Famagusta, Cyprus. His family moved to the UK in 1958 when he was aged five, living in Bermondsey, southeast London.
Although he trained as an accountant, Suleyman was more attracted to life as an entrepreneur. He started off in fashion by partnering an East London garment manufacturer in the mid 1980s, before going on to establish Low Profile, a clothing manufacturer supplies UK retail stores, including Marks & Spencer.
Low Profile turned into a holding company with multiple businesses, such as Hawes and Curtis and other fashion brands, including Ghost and Finery London. The company continues to manufacture clothes with its factories based in Turkiye, Bulgaria, and Georgia.