Do They Have The Stomach For This? JC Penney Didn’t

josabanklogoApparently Jos A. Bank, the men’s clothier, is trying to re-position itself and is having the same predictable results JC Penney had when trying to do the same thing. Jos A Bank is famous for its buy 1 get a bazillion free promotions that drive traffic. While I have never shopped there, I assume their products are targeted at the shopper who appreciates those kinds of “bargains.”

After being acquired by The Men’s Wearhouse apparently the CEO of Men’s Wearhouse is looking to re-position Jos A. Bank. The original plan was to run the two stores as distinct brands focused on different target consumers. There is some debate about the real difference between the two. However, the re-positioning is not necessarily designed to attract different customers, but rather to increase share of wardrobe with their target customer. But isn’t that what The Men’s Wearhouse already does?

Anyway, as Jos A. Bank has killed its ads for buy one get a bazillion free, the existing customer has stopped shopping. Until and unless they create a compelling reason for their target customer to shop there, sales will likely continue to drop. Just like what happened to JC Penney.

Will the company, publicly traded, have the patience for the re-position? Will the re-position fill a valid segment of the market? The company is probably right that buying four suits at a crack is not likely a broad market these days; but what is their new position? That I can’t see any evidence to understand. At least Ron Johnson had a vision for the revamped Penney. Does Men’s Wearhouse have a vision for Jos A. Bank, or will this 100+ year-old brand die off?

Mitch

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