Once your customers are used to receiving discounts, it’s really hard to wean them off. Just ask JCPenney, a company that conducted a spectacular nationwide failed experiment in misunderstanding one’s own customer base. This week, Men’s Wearhouse shared the news that their attempt to change the habits of Jos. A. Bank shoppers isn’t going so well: sales are way down.
When customers have been trained to come in and stock up on suits only when there’s a buy one, get three free sale, ending those sales entirely will hurt traffic. To be precise, the company says that comparable-store sales dropped 14.6% at Bank stores, while the same figure increased slightly at parent brand Men’s Wearhouse. They expect even more of a decrease in the next quarter, anticipating that sales will fall 20 to 25%.
However, the bushels of suits are not coming back out. The brand is standing firm. In the press release summarizing their quarterly report, the company predicts that sales will remain down while “customers adapt to the shift in the promotional strategy.” That’s an inherently sunny outlook, since it presumes that those customers are coming back.
Men’s Wearhouse CEO Doug Ewert explained in a statement that the company had anticipated that sales would fall, but had not anticipated that they would fall quite this much. “Despite these results, we continue to believe that transitioning away from the unsustainable promotional strategy we inherited from Jos. A. Bank and accelerating our new promotional strategy is the right thing to do for the long-term success of the Jos. A. Bank business,” he said. That strategy includes a rewards program and not marking their suits way up so they can be massively discounted.
Jos. A. Bank sales plunge, sending Men’s Wearhouse shares down 45% [Baltimore Business Journal]