Tuxedo Rentals Are Down Because Of Fewer, Less Formal Weddings

Image courtesy of (Chris Goldberg)

The number of weddings relative to the U.S. population is the lowest it’s been since World War I, and tuxedo-rental shops like Men’s Wearhouse are seeing a decrease in their business. They blame demographic patterns, changes in wedding fashion, and changes in the formalwear rental business as a whole for the decrease, and see the trend continuing for now.

The first problem is that the wedding rate is falling: fewer people (as a proportion of the population) are getting married every year. That’s bad enough news for the wedding industry, but add in a different trend: less formal weddings are now in style. The current Men’s Wearhouse CEO noted in a recent conference call that they’re selling more suits for weddings: grooms want less formal outfits that they might wear again instead of paying for a tux that won’t quite fit and that they have to give back.

There’s another trend that has traditional tux rental shops nervous: the Internet. Online tux shops offer lower prices, free two-way shipping, and can ship out a suit based on the wearer’s actual measurements. They rent accessories, too. If you’d rather invest in buying a tux, that’s more accessible than ever, too: you can order a tux from a reputable source for a lower price than ever.

Men’s Wearhouse is trying something new to make rentals more accessible: they’re putting mini tux-rental shops in 300 Macy’s stores as an experiment. Will making fittings and pickups more accessible increase business? If you see more mini-shops expanding out to other stores, you’ll know that it did.

The Rental Tux Is In Trouble [Bloomberg]