Jos. A Bank is falling apart.
The menswear store’s parent company, Tailored Brands, will shutter 250 stores over the course of 2016, the company announced in a release.
100 to 110 of the stores will be Men’s Wearhouse tux stores. It will shutter all of its Jos. A Bank and Men’s Wearhouse outlet stores, and 80-90 will be Jos. A Bank stores.
Comparable sales for Jos. A Bank were down an alarming 31.9% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015. Comparable sales fell 16.4% in fiscal 2015.
Men’s Wearhouse acquired Jos. A Bank in 2014 for $1.8 billion, and it’s been rough for the retailer ever since.
Sales at Jos. A Bank have been consistently declining since it stopped doing its infamous “buy one, get many free” promotions. The sales were so notorious that they were mocked by Saturday Night Live.
Initially, nixing these insane promotions was supposed to help business.
“There’s a fair amount of evidence out there that there aren’t enough customers who want to buy four suits at a time or want to buy that quantity to get a deal,” Men’s Wearhouse CEO Doug Ewert told Bloomberg in September. “Taking away the unnatural quantity discounts will lead to more healthy transactions. Instead of a guy buying four suits and then we don’t hear from him for quite a while, we can sell him a suit and shirts and ties and maybe some shoes.”
The company also tried to appeal to a younger consumer.
“It’s this focus on newness that will give us the best shot at winning a larger share of closet with existing customers and expanding our reach to new and younger customers,” Ewert said on an earnings call in September.
But it’s been increasingly difficult for the company to shift consumers’ perception of the brand; this attempt to transition from a promotion-heavy retailer to a destination for young, stylish men has arguably hurt it even more.
“What we did not know then but do now was just how toxic some of the promotions were and how deep and far-reaching the transformation required would be,” Ewert said in a conference call with analysts in December.
It’s still proving difficult, months later.
“While our fourth quarter and full year results were consistent with our revised guidance, we remain very disappointed by the weak Jos. A. Bank results,” Ewert said in a recent release. “Our transition away from unsustainable promotions has proven significantly more difficult and expensive than we expected. We do, however, remain confident that Jos. A. Bank offers a longer-term opportunity to profitably grow market share in the menswear business.”
Maybe the company should reach out to its founder George Zimmer, who was axed from the company in 2013.
“Two and a half years ago the senior management and board of directors called me in and told me that my furniture was being put in storage and I was being fired,” Zimmer said to Business Insider’s Hayley Peterson in December. “In that two-and-a-half-year period of time not one of them has called me — now might be a good time.”
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