Jos. A. Bank considers moving headquarters from Hampstead Growth creates a space squeeze

February 01, 1997|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

Squeezed for space at its Hampstead distribution center, Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. is considering moving its headquarters from the Carroll County center to Baltimore County or the city, the company said yesterday.

The clothing retailer has looked at several sites in Towson, Lutherville and the city and is discussing possibilities with both county and city economic development officials, said Timothy Finley, Bank chairman.

"We've had a substantial amount of growth in the past year. Our offices are in a distribution center, and we may need additional space for distribution," he said.

But the company is awaiting the results of a consultant's space study -- which should be completed in the next couple of weeks -- before making a decision, he said.

"We don't even know what our space requirements are," Finley said. "There are a lot of things involved."

At this point, the retailer is considering sites in both jurisdictions but has concerns about crime and parking in the city, Finley said.

Robert Hannon, executive director of Baltimore County Department of Economic Development, said he couldn't comment on talks before a decision is made.

Bank's headquarters now employs 155 workers, including those in the catalog division. But some might remain in Hampstead, depending on space requirements of the distribution center, which employs about 100, Finley said.

He estimated that moving the headquarters would give the distribution center enough space for the next four or five years, at the current rate of growth.

To cut costs five years ago, Bank moved its headquarters to the Hampstead center Bank owns from offices it leased in Owings Mills.

The apparel company has 1,000 employees in Maryland, at the distribution center and headquarters, a cutting center, two city plants and stores in Baltimore, Towson, Annapolis and Rockville.

Bank has managed to survive a severe industry shakeout and, in the last several years, opened new stores, the latest for Maryland in Annapolis in November. On a same-store basis, sales in 1996 were up 11.3 percent.

The retailer, which operates 81 stores, might open another Maryland location this year as part of a 10-store expansion, Finley said.

Pub Date: 2/01/97

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