EVERY GIRL IS CRAZY ABOUT A SHARP DRESSED MAN, MAYBE
Brooks Brothers filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy last week. Not surprising with the condition the US economy is in. It's part Covid-19 caused and part Brooks Brother caused. Covid-19 caused almost all retail stores to close which is not good for business. It also caused people to change their shopping habits. Online shopping exploded. But only 20% of Brooks Brothers business was done online.
They also were very slow to adapt their business strategy to the changing men's attire from business and formal to casual. Many people started working from home and didn't bother to dress unless they were video conferencing. Even before Covid-19, businesses were relaxing their dress code.
I worked at Men's Wearhouse for a couple years. Very nice place to work, good employee's and awesome customers. Their parent company, Tailored Brands, also owns Jos. A Banks and Moore's in Canada. They also are contemplating bankruptcy for basically the same reasons as Brooks Brothers. This month they skipped out on a $6.1 million dollar interest payment. WoW! The clock is ticking.
I enjoyed getting dressed up to go to work. I felt better about myself even though I didn't have a reason to feel less of myself. I would say that only 25% of my customers were professionals that dressed up for work regularly. The other 75% were those that needed a suit that looked good, was OK quality and was inexpensive. They needed it to attend a wedding, funeral or a company affair.
Men's Wearhouse does have a lot of business from online customers. They are also very customer friendly, a key to good business. However their formal rental business has just about died. School proms were canceled, weddings rescheduled and large gatherings are still discouraged.
Back in the day I bought my suits from J.C. Penny when they were what I call full service. Someone waited on you, helped you select your needs, took your measurements for alterations and helped pick out accessories that complimented you and your purchase. You can still buy suits from Penny's, but it's self service and the purchase is all you get. Penny's is also a store that is floundering. Just like Sears, every month you hear about more of their stores closing.
I'm a guy. I know how to buy jeans and t shirts. If I need to up my game, I like another persons help and opinion. I also like full service. Just because I use to work there, it doesn't mean I don't need help selecting what I need. I also like that while your trying it on, if you like it you get measured for alterations and then can pick it up there in a few days.
With the pandemic having us hunker down, it's made a lot of us reconsider our shopping habits. Now that it has relaxed some and places have opened up again, shopping local and buying American made has become somewhat of a priority. Buying online does have its conveniences, but also it's not good to the local economy. Buying American made is good, but most of the time more expensive. Don't forget, we sent our manufacturing to China back in the 80's to cut our expenses.
I left Men's Wearhouse to explore other options. Bad timing on my part? Maybe. However, Men's Wearhouse is restructuring. Both Brooks Brothers and Men's Wearhouse probably will survive a bankruptcy and end up more like J.C. Penny's. The consumer will pay the price. Products might be less expensive but they'll be more self serve.