Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Inc. (NASDAQ: JOSB) is a , manufacturer and retailer of men's classically-styled tailored and casual clothing, sportswear, footwear and accessories. The Company sells its full product line through 479 stores in 42 states and the District of Columbia, a nationwide catalog and an e-commerce website.
Unlike many of its competitors in men's specialty apparel, JOSB maintains large in-store inventories, ensuring that all sizes and styles are available for purchase. Coupled with on-site tailoring, this business model provides a convenient shopping experience for its intended customer base--male career professionals, a demographic that tends to shop for clothing only a few times each year. So far, this strategy has served the company well: though considerably smaller than many other men's specialty clothing retailers, JOSB consistently reports a higher operating margin than the fashion industry average (the company's operating margin in 2009 was 15.9%).
JOSB, however, remains vulnerable to the effects of 2009's particularly weak holiday season. Previously, sales in the fourth quarter--that is, during the holiday season--accounted for between 53% and 58% of the company’s net income.
The recession is also impeding the company's efforts to expand. While management originally planned for 600 total stores by 2012, it has been forced to reevaluate this time-frame and has already scaled back the proposed expansion plans.
in-house, it relies on a word-wide network of vendors for manufacturing, with one agent sourcing 40% of all products in 2009. The company then distributes its products exclusively through its integrated retail channels, separated into two segments: (1) stores and (2) direct marketing, which includes both the Internet and its catalog.
First Quarter 2010 Results
Jos. A Bank reported net income for the first quarter of fiscal year 2010 iof $15.8 million, up 37% from net income of $11.5 million for the first quarter of fiscal year 2009. Earnings per share for the first quarter of fiscal year 2010 increased 37% to $0.85 per share, as compared to $0.62 per share for the first quarter of fiscal year 2009. Total sales for the first quarter of fiscal year 2010 increased 10.0% to $178.1 million from $161.9 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2009, while comparable store sales increased 10.4% and Direct Marketing sales decreased 0.6%.
===ny-owned stores offer on-site tailoring services to make the shopping experience as convenient as possible for its customers. Company-owned locations averaged 4,730 square feet, with new stores averaging 4,160 square feet. In 2009 the average cost to open a new store was $480,000 with an average initial inventory investment of $300,000.
In December 2008, U.S. retail sales fell for the six straight month, dropping 2.7% from November to December as a result of decreased consumer spending and consumer confidence in the wake of the 2008 Financial Crisis.  Clothing retail sales, specifically, dropped 2.5% over the same period. JOSB is particularly vulnerable to the effects of this recession: it not only serves a discretionary industry, but also earns a significant proportion of its annual revenue during the holiday season.  In the past three years alone, fourth quarter sales accounted for between 53% and 58% of annual net sales. This year's disappointing holiday season, therefore, threatens to weaken the company's potential for revenue growth: retail sales for the 2008 holiday season were a record 9.8% lower than 2007's sales for the same period. To combat these negative market pressures, JOSB has pursued aggressive discounting in an attempt to increase its market share relative to other men's specialty clothing retailers, even while the fashion market declines as a whole. On November 24, 2008, the company announced its Black Friday sales in advance in order to attract as many customers as possible: the Doorbuster event boasted sales of up to 75% on cashmere items at all of its full-line stores and on-line. Over the holiday season, the company even offered three suits for the price of one at some locations. Since the company has not yet released its 2008 fourth-quarter earnings report, it remains to be seen how JOSB's discount policy fared during a generally dismal holiday season for retail. Its 2008 third-quarter performance, however, set it up for the possibility of success: despite the recession, JOSB's continued expansion and promotions attributed to a 13.7% increase in net sales.
In response to the economic downturn, the company's management decided to reduce its capital expenditures by scaling back its proposed expansion plan, which originally called for 600 total stores by the end of 2012. Compared with the 40 new stores opened in fiscal year 2008, JOSB plans to open only 15 to 20 new stores in fiscal year 2009, as management expects fewer appropriate locations to be available for real estate investment. Appropriate locations require a high volume of retail foot-traffic, specifically composed of male career professionals--the company's intended customer base; with this recession, however, management expects decreased foot-traffic in such retail locations, rendering each possible new store less profitable than it otherwise would be.  For this reason, management not only decided to reduce expansion in fiscal year 2009, but also reevaluate the time-frame of the plan beyond that year. This change in the company's proposed real estate expansion plan has serious implications for the its future growth, as the opening of new stores has been a significant factor in the its past revenue growth, dating back to fiscal year 2002. 
Amid the turmoil of the 2008 Financial Crisis, the U.S. dollar, as of January 14, 2009, has improved against most other benchmark currencies, resulting in decreased import prices. Since JOSB sources 88% of its products from foreign vendors (with 43% from China and 20% from Mexico in fiscal year 2007), import prices and thus the strength of the U.S. dollar relative to the currencies of vendor countries, specifically the Chinese yuan and the Mexico peso, are important determinants of company manufacturing costs. Faced with a relatively weak dollar in fiscal year 2007, the company relied on aggressive price negotiation to bring down manufacturing costs. A strengthened dollar, however, lets the company reduce manufacturing costs even further and, subsequently increase net income. Though the future trajectory of the dollar remains uncertain, JOSB, as an importer of manufactured goods, would benefit from a rising dollar.
As a retailer for men's specialty apparel, the success of JOSB depends, in part, on fashion trends in professional menswear. The company insulates against this risk by using an updated classical look in all of its designs. Although men's business fashion has been resistant to any significant changes over the past half-century, the company did modify its designs in response to the increasingly casual corporate culture of the past decade.
JOSB continues to innovate in men's professional attire: in fiscal year 2004, it introduced wrinkle resistant polo shirts, wool pants, and suits as part of the "Traveler" collection. The following year, the company unveiled its "Stays Cool" suit, which, using specialized fabrics, keeps the wearer comfortable even in warm climates; it added more "Stays Cool" clothing items in both 2006 and 2007. With these innovations, the company exerts its own pressures on its competitors, creating its own trends in men's specialty fashion.
JOSB competes with other retailers and catalogers of professional menswear, as well as department stores that sell specialty men's apparel and accessories. Jos. A Bank maintains its competitive position based not only on its ability to offer its high quality career clothing at reasonable prices, but also on its broad selection of in-stock merchandise, customer service and product innovation.
Men's specialty retailers:
The following table excludes Brooks Brothers, Inc. and Lands' End, since, as privately owned companies, no data are publicly available concerning their operating statistics.
|'||Inventory Turnover Ratio||Operating Margin||Profit Margin||Net Income||Revenue (Net Sales)|
|Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Inc. (JOSB)||1.06||13.70%||8.30%||$50.17 million||$604.01 million|
|Men's Wearhouse (MW)||2.17||10.80%||7.00%||$147.00 million||$970.00 million|
|Macy's Inc. (M)||3.02||7.90%||3.40%||$909.00 million||$9,332.00 million|
|Nordstrom (JWN)||5.38||10.70%||8.10%||$715.00 million||$8,828.00 million|
These data demonstrate a key feature of the JOSB business model: when compared with its competitors, the company holds relatively high in-store inventories, represented here by JOSB's low inventory turnover ratio. While unusual for retailers, these high inventories ensure a convenient shopping experience for the company's targeted customer--the male career professional. By focusing on superior service, JOSB posted better margins, as the table indicates, than its competitors did in 2007, despite its relatively small-size in terms of net sales and net income.