The human male can be a fickle beast when it comes to clothes shopping. We realize we want to dress well and come off as presentable, but we often find ourselves at a loss as to how to make that happen. When clothes shopping is any less convenient than a quick stop at the store at the corner, it won’t be worth our effort. And if our definition of fashion isn’t reasonably priced, off to the nearby discount big-box retailer we go.
JoS. A. Bank Clothiers understands these tendencies as well as any men’s clothing retailer in North America. Since the company underwent a major overhaul in its business model and operational infrastructure in 1999, JoS. A. Bank’s mission has been to offer quality clothing for men who know what they want to wear, what they want to pay and how much time they want to spend on their wardrobe.
The company uses these tendencies to determine where and when it launches its new locations. Since he joined JoS. A. Bank in 1999, Executive Vice President Robert Hensley has played an integral role in executing this growth strategy throughout the United States.
“Our CEO, at that time Bob Wildrick, challenged the management team to develop a growth strategy in our company,” Hensley says. “We saw brick-and-mortar opportunities and an Internet opportunity, so we started a growth plan with the prototype we’re currently using.”
New prototype, yes, but the same JoS. A. Bank reputation for quality and style in men’s fashion remains intact. The company was founded more than 107 years ago and has maintained its reputation for quality and craftsmanship for all styles of men’s clothing as trends come and go. Today, the company boasts more than 606 locations throughout the United States, with plans to open another 35 in 2013 alone.
The typical location occupies about 4,500 square feet.
Retrofitting the Strategy
When Hensley joined the company in 1999, there were approximately 100 JoS. A. Bank locations throughout the United States. Hensley says part of the company’s growth strategy included revamping the type of brick-and-mortar locations it built, where it built them and how they were designed.
The new prototype is designed for the man who needs to buy fashionable threads in a timely manner, according to Hensley. These locations either boast their own parking lots or are at a mall with its own outside entrance to be closest to the parking. Mall locations often have two entrances – one adjacent to the parking lot and the other that leads into the rest of a mall.”
“Traditionally, guys like to get in and out and look for clothes where he lives or work, so finding the right demographics is the starting point for any location for us,” Hensley says. Hensley says, men often will need to make two trips because their purchase may require alterations.
What also is very important to him is the look and feel the clothing at JoS. A. Bank creates for men. Hensley says the latest fashion demands are for “fit” items, which he describes as slimmer versions of the company’s traditional collections.
Along with a slimmer fit, this style highlights design features that accentuate a slimmer look on men. These features include a thinner lapel and higher button stances on jackets.
“This is the hot fashion thing going on right now, and getting the right fit depending on the person’s fashion and personal preference is important,” Hensley says. “We do that in dress shirts, sports shirts and suits, and we’re expanding our offerings to get more fit options.”
“Generally, when there is a younger customer with a certain fashion preference, we enhance our offering for them in their particular location,” Hensley adds. “An example would be the Jos. A. Bank store in Hoboken, N.J. We cater to the young business professional who might work in the New York City financial district.”
Hensley says JoS. A. Bank intends to grow to at least 700 full-line stores and 100 factory stores, as well as expanding its digital presence. Hensley says the Internet offers JoS. A. Bank the ability to share new ideas quickly with its customers to ensure the company is ahead of the latest trends.
No matter how JoS. A. Bank grows, though, Hensley says the company is committed to a controlled growth strategy. “We’re just focused on proper execution and continuing to reward our shareholders. There are plenty of opportunities out there for us,” he says. ‘The way to create opportunity is to take care of today’s customer.”