When casual Fridays put a wrinkle in the starched selling philosophy of Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, the company dressed down. Although it is still best known for making tailored clothing for the professional man, including suits, sport coats, dress shirts, and pants, it has added casual wear suitable for those dress-down Fridays and weekends. It also launched the David Leadbetter line of golf wear. The company sells its Jos. A. Bank clothes and a few shoe brands through its catalogs, website, and some 625 company-owned or franchised stores in 40-plus states and the District of Columbia. For corporate customers, it offers a credit card that provides users with discounts. Most of its stores house a tailoring shop.
Jos. A. Bank has dropped its bid to acquire its larger rival Men's Wearhouse for $48 per share in cash. Men's Wearhouse rejected the unsolicited offer saying it undervalued the company, and then turned the tables on Bank on its would-be acquirer and bid to acquire it. After Bank tightened its poison pill requirements in early 2014 to prevent a hostile takeover, Men's Wearhouse upped its offer to $1.6 billion. (Men's Wearhouse has twice as many stores as Jos. A Bank and two-and-a-half times its annual sales.) Still hot on the acquisition trail, Bank in February 2014 agreed to buy the Eddie Bauer brand (owned by the private equity firm Golden Gate Capital) in a deal valued at $825 million, including cash and debt. (Bank will pay $564 million in cash and issue about 4.7 million new shares of its stock to fund the acquisition.) Bank says the deal is an opportunity for growth and expansion. Eddie Bauer operates about 370 stores and an online and catalog business.
Fast-growing Jos. A. Bank has added more than 400 stores over the past nine years, topping the 600-store mark in 2013.
The growing store base and increasing same-store sales (up 7% in fiscal 2011), have resulted in healthy sales and profit growth. Fiscal 2011 sales increased by about 11% vs. the prior year, while net income was up more than 20% over the same period. (Indeed, 2011 marked the 10th consecutive year of increasing sales and profits for the retailer.) The chain saw strong sales increases in dress shirts, other tailored clothing (particularly sportcoats, blazers, and dress pants), sportswear, and suits. In 2011 Jos. A. Bank began taking online orders from international customers, giving a boost to its growing e-commerce business.
The retailer covers all the bases with its "Three Levels of Luxury" strategy, which includes the Jos. A. Bank Executive collection, the more luxurious Signature collection, and the exclusive Signature Gold collection. (The higher-end lines feature superfine qualities of wool and other materials.) Together the Signature and Signature Gold collections accounted for more than 25% of total merchandise sales in 2011.
The chain has sought growth through nontraditional means. It began offering tuxedo rentals in about half of its stores in 2010 and now offers rentals at all of its locations. While Jos. A Bank already sells formalwear, it believes it can tap into an additional revenue stream by offering the rental option. It competes with the likes of Men's Wearhouse and Tux and other formal wear chains.
Investment firm FMR LLC owns nearly 15% of the company's shares, while Royce & Associates owns about 11%.