Jos. A. Bank launches marketing campaign

$2.5 million effort targets new customers, raising visibility for expansion

October 12, 2004|By Andrea K. Walker | Andrea K. Walker,SUN STAFF

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc., the Hampstead-based men's retailer, is spending $2.5 million on an expansive marketing campaign that it hopes will attract new customers and increase visibility as it moves beyond its regional roots.

The campaign will include a foray into television shopping, magazine advertisements and an extension of its Internet presence.

It's a new direction for the nearly 100-year-old company as it continues with a plan it announced in 2002 to have 500 stores open in five years. The 242-store chain has dabbled with television commercials before, but for the most part has enticed customers through in-store and mail promotions.

Next month, Bank will launch its first advertising campaign in magazines. Television commercials will appear on cable business channels and other networks, and glossy ads will run in men's and business magazines.

Last night, the company made its first try at television shopping, appearing on QVC to sell its cotton polos, khakis and dress shirts.

"People have their own preference of where they want to shop," said David E. Ullman, Bank's chief financial officer. "Some like to shop in the store, while others like to do it by catalog, through television or on the Internet. We're trying to create an additional awareness of the Jos. Bank brand throughout the country."

Said Preston Silvey, an analyst with First Dallas Securities, of the QVC arrangement, "It lends more exposure to their product. As they continue to open new stores, this is good for them."

Bank will be the only men's retailer to offer clothing other than sports apparel on QVC. Bank also opened a "virtual store" on the QVC Web site Sept. 20. It features more than 500 of the clothier's suits and other apparel and is in addition to the company's Web site.

"Men's retail was new to us and we felt that a nationally recognized brand like Jos. Bank would be the best way to go," said Carol Snyder, director of merchandising for QVC.com.

The success of last night's performance will determine if Bank items will be sold on QVC television again.

With the new ventures, Bank is looking to tap new types of customers.

For instance, the average QVC shopper is a woman, while it's mostly men who shop in Bank stores.

"Our customer is considered to be the wife of their customer," Snyder said. "Now, they have exposure to people who may not go directly to their Web site."

The company also can tap shoppers who prefer the convenience of online and television shopping, said Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates, a national retail consulting and investment firm in New York.

"If you're in business, don't you want to get into the fastest-growing segment in retail?" Davidowitz said. "Convenience as opposed to driving to a store is exploding. People are time-poor, and they want convenience."

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