Cover Story: Tailored Deals Bank Sales
With company-record net income of $58.4 million and sales gains of 15.2 percent (including comparable store sales rising 8.9 percent) for its fiscal year that ended Jan. 31, JoS. A. Bank was a rare 2008 success story.
The good fortune has carried over to 2009, with first quarter net income and total sales for the men's tailored and casual clothing integrated retailer up $1.7 million and 11.4 percent, respectively.
So what's the 104-year-old, Hampstead, Md.-based marketer's secret formula? It started with a shift in philosophy that came from examining what was going on in the marketplace, then attacking it with a promotional market- ing strategy.
"We had to get creative with our marketing and promotions, and learn how to vary our promotional activity to keep our customers satisfied," says Bridget Owens, JoS. A. Bank's director of catalog merchandise and production. "It was mostly about building their confidence — that they could shop with us relatively risk free."
One such creative effort was its "risk-free" suit offer. Consumers could buy a suit at the discounted price of $199, and if they lost their jobs after purchasing the suit, they not only got a full refund for their purchase, but got to keep the suit as well. Add in "BOGO" (buy one, get one) sales on suits, and it's easy to see how JoS. A. Bank has motivated consumers to continue to shop with it.
Offered across all of JoS. A. Bank's selling channels — retail, catalog and web/email — the promotions have increased sales and strengthened relationships with customers by establishing mutual loyalty, Owens says.
"JoS. A. Bank found an angle during a tough economic environment: A suit is typically an investment for men," says Jean-Yves Sabot, vice president of the retail group of Abacus, a division of Epsilon Targeting, which provides market research and housefile modeling for JoS. A. Bank. "It removed the stress of making this 'investment' by offering its job-loss promise. That strong message, combined with targeting the right buyers, helped it trigger a positive result."