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 630 company-owned or franchised stores in 40-plus states and the District of Columbia. The business was acquired following a protracted battle by its larger rival The Men's Wearhouse in June 2014.
Jos. A. Bank Clothiers was acquired by The Men's Wearhouse in June 2014 in an all-cash tender offer that paid $65 per share for Bank's outstanding shares. The $1.8-billion deal followed a lot of back and forth -- with each party trying to takeover the other -- triggered when Bank launched a takeover bid for its ultimate acquirer. Bank became a subsidiary of Men's Wearhouse and its shares were delisted. Combined the two companies operate some 1,700 stores and will have about $3.5 billion in annual sales.
Jos. A. Bank Clothiers operates through two segments: Stores and Direct Marketing. The Stores unit operates about 570 full-line stores, 40-plus factory stores, and 15 franchise locations. For corporate customers, it offers a credit card that provides users with discounts. Most of its stores house a tailoring shop. The retailer's growing Direct Marketing arm includes online sales and a call center and contributes about 13% of annual sales.
In its last year as an independent company, Jos. A. Bank's sales declined 2% in fiscal 2014 (ended January) versus the prior year, to $1.03 billion. Net income fell 21% over the same period to $63.3 million. The dip in revenue reversed about a decade of steadily growing sales, which peaked at $1.05 billion in fiscal 2013. The company blamed falling traffic at its stores for declining same-store sales, partially offset by the opening of 30 new stores. The retailer's Direct Marketing arm posted an 11% increase in year-over-year sales, driven by higher online sales resulting from higher traffic to its website and a higher conversion rate, partially offset by a lower average order value. Despite the dip in sales and a second consecutive year of falling net income, cash flow from operations increased to $98.2 million.
Prior to its purchase by The Men's Wearhouse, Jos. A. Bank Clothiers logged more than a decade of healthy sales and profit growth spurred by a growing store base and online business. Indeed, fast-growing Jos. A. Bank added more than 400 stores over the past 10 years, topping the 600-store mark in 2013.
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.) The chain had also 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.
Apparently feeling pretty sure of itself, Bank launched a takeover bid for its larger rival The Men's Wearhouse in 2013, which ultimately resulted in its own acquisition by its former target. Along the way it agreed to the Eddie Bauer brand (owned by the private equity firm Golden Gate Capital) in a deal valued at $825 million, including cash and debt. However, it abandoned that deal when it succumbed to The Men's Wearhouse. The merger should allow both brands to better compete against department stores, such as Macy's, Kohl's, Nordstrom, as well as Brooks Brothers.