ACS Clothing, Europe’s largest supplier of men’s formal wear, has secured £8.8m follow-on investment from BGF to support its expansion into the American market.
The deal marks BGF’s second investment in the Glasgow-based company, following on from an £8.5m funding round in January 2014, which fuelled the growth of ACS’s Xedo Software business and laid the groundwork for expansion into the men’s formalwear market in the US.
The US is the world’s largest tuxedo rental market, worth around $1.2bn in total, capturing weddings, school proms, and other formal events. Around two million weddings take place in the US each year, almost ten times the number held in the UK, building a wedding services sector worth around $50bn a year. Of that total, around $5bn per year is spent on wedding dresses, tuxedos and other attire.
Richard Freedman, CEO at ACS Clothing, said: “Our aim is to revolutionise tuxedo rental with higher-quality, better-fitting, designer groomswear with an innovative online system that makes dressing your wedding party simple, stylish and stress-free. The great benefit for the bridal dress designers is that it allows them to connect with and influence brides more than ever before, beyond the wedding gown right through to groomswear and accessories.
“Suit Up will be the only online tuxedo rental experience that combines the talent of today’s top bridal dress designers, offers their bespoke groomswear and has the ability to co-ordinate/colour-match the entire wedding party attire.
“We have ambitious plans for the US and to deliver these in our set timescales, we realised that we would require further equity investment. Having worked with the team at BGF for over a year now and with BGF understanding what we are trying to achieve, we knew that further funding from them would be the perfect fit to help drive our business forward in the US”.
ACS is also pleased to announce the appointment of Peter Abruzzo, as CEO of the US operations. Abruzzo has a background in tuxedo rental businesses, having worked alongside the CEOs of formalwear and bridal powerhouses such as Men’s Wearhouse, David’s Bridal, and After Hours, helping to lead the exponential growth of each brand.
The company has signed a lease on a 244,000sq ft distribution facility in Memphis, Tennessee, near its shipping partner FedEx, to deliver its formalwear direct to its customers across the US.