They’re regular prices are really that expensive, it’s ludicrous really. The advertisements are playing to the market that already know how outrageous their prices are, and want to get some of their products for almost cheap.
Just based on the non-nonsensical commercials, I would never walk into one of their stores.
Anybody can give stuff away. The trick is to sell things at a profit. JAB tries to make you think that they are giving stuff away. No, no, no, they stay in business by making a profit which means that they sell stuff at a margin that is greater than what they paid for the merchandise. That margin pays for overhead and salaries. So, it’s either shit quality or overinflated original prices. Pick your poison.
I’ve visited Banks stores, and the suits and shirts are usually of high quality.
The markup on all retail clothing is very high; you have to factor in all the unsold merchandise, most notably in sizes that you have to stock but which you can’t sell. So a 50% reduction is more than enough to pay for the store’s expenses.
I got a good deal at one a few weeks ago. It is a true men’s store with good staff and decent quality. It is a step down from exclusive men’s boutiques and probably even Brooks Brothers but above most department store brands and much nicer than places like the Men’s Wearhouse.
However, they do have a strange marketing thing going. Their regular prices are outrageous and I think they know that. I walked out with two nice dress shirts normally priced at $95 a piece and a blazer off the discount rack that happened to fit me perfectly and marked for $700 all for less $200 total. It was certainly a good deal for me.
They seem to hand out steep discounts like no other retailer I have ever seen though. Just for that trip, I got a loyalty card for 30% off of anything later and they give even bigger corporate discounts.
They alternate (every week it seems) between offering their $800 suits at “half off everything in the store!” and offering the same suits at “buy one suit get one free!”, or variations on those. I doubt many people pay the sticker price, as they’re always having some kind of sale, which always amount to fairly decently made $200-$500 suits for which people pay $200-$500. I have a few, and they’ve always held up better than anything I’ve bought at Brooks Brothers (a similar chain IMO) - I’ve bought suits there that fell apart within a year.
Their “Regular” prices are inflated, and in my experience they implicitly admit this at their stores. I’ve purchased sport coats there on two separate occasions. Each time the coat was listed around $350, but I paid roughly half that. Once I was told to ignore the price, as they had to order my size anyway, and if I waited until next week when it arrived to pay it would be on sale. The other time the salesman looked at the price tag, sort of winced and basically said “Oh shoot, it looks like this one isn’t on sale today. Never mind, I’ll just discount it anyway.”
My dad owns a funeral home, and buys suits for himself and his staff there as well, probably about 12 suits every two years or so. I’ve piggy-backed on their order before, and it seems like they give their business customers discounts off of the “sale” prices, maybe $300 for the “$900 suit” that’s always on sale for $400. They’re not crap suits by any means, certainly a good value at their sale price. I’m actually impressed with my sport coat’s resiliency, it’s survived plenty of drunken nights better than I have!
It’s the same with their other merchandise, I can count on picking up a nice cashmere sweater with a $250 price tag for about $100 the week after Christmas, and their dress shirts regularly go on sale as well. My guess is they make a lot of their money on volume and secondary purchases. I’m sure plenty of people walk in and buy a $350 suit on sale, decide a new shirt would go nice with the new suit, and buy a $75 shirt at regular price. Then maybe some nice high-margin $10 socks, or a new belt as well.
So they have decent-quality merchandise at reasonable prices, if you understand their (pretty transparent) sale tactics. The vast majority of their business is on repeat customers, so most of them know the game perfectly well. And their staff is generally very good IME, probably the best at that price point.
They are one of those places that are always having a sale, so you would never buy anything there at regular price. It seems to me that their quality is slipping, they used to be a notch below Brooks Bros, but I think they are a couple notches below that now. I think they are better quality than Men’s Wearhouse. Their higher end suits are still of good quality.
If you wear dress shirts and pants to work everyday, they’re a good place to get a bunch of clothes that won’t break your heart if you spill coffee on them.
I’d argue about the markup. When I worked at a clothing store (small chain), our usual markup was 100% of wholesale, that is, we’d buy pants at $12.50 each and sell them at $25. And our prices were about average, a pair of Levi’s BendOvers was going to run you about the same price anywhere else in town. So a 50% reduction meant, on most of our merchandise, that we were only charging the wholesale price and we were eating all the shipping and overhead costs.
Now, there are some stores that will claim that their merchandise is “valued at” or “comparable to” much higher prices. For instance, Hobby Lobby always has its furniture marked at 30% off…which sounds like a great deal, until you notice that they run this ad EVERY week, and then you shop around.
Their regular prices are overinflated, but if you buy at the sale prices they’re not outrageous. Every large employer I’ve worked at has also had a corporate discount with JoAB as well. Their stuff is good quality IME but I’d never buy it full price when the sales and discounts are so easy to come by.