For years, Jos. A. Bank has advertised suits “Buy 1, Get 2 Free” all the way up to “Buy 1, Get 4 Free”, but that practice has come to an end. It is not being discontinued because some sharp Attorney General went after them for using inflated regular prices as a means to be able to offer all the free items, but rather because sales were dropping.
Shoppers may have come to view their suits as poor quality, because after all, how could anyone give away three suits for nothing if they were really $700 suits? No store could. The company’s frequent BOGO ads even became fodder for this great Saturday Night Live skit:
The Washington Post reports that just last month, the company ran its last BOGO sale, and explains why the new owners made the change.
So what’s their new way of advertising? Here is how they promoted their Veteran’s Day sale on television and online.
They are reverting to the tried and true “percent off” and 2-fer type sales.
Alan A. wrote to us to share what he observed in a Jos. A. Bank store in Illinois. He was interested in buying “Travelers shirts” which were on sale for 50% off. He found identical shirts some marked with the regular price of $60 and others marked $79. Being of sound mind, he selected the cheaper one, but it rang up at $79 before the discount. After a bit of a tussle, he was able to get half off the $60 marked price.
Sure enough, the regular price used to be $60, and now it is $79.50. Had the regular price remained at $60, a two for $99 sale would not have looked as attractive.
During our consumer’s visit, he encountered a similar problem with a pair of khaki pants. They were marked $75, but rang up at $99 (before the sale discount of 40% was deducted).
What’s the explanation other than the manipulation of regular prices in order to seemingly offer big discounts? No, that really appears to be the explanation. The checkout clerk said the store hadn’t yet finished repricing the goods (presumably only in one direction — up).
Now, a month after Jos. A. Bank discontinued their “Buy 1, Get 3 Free” promotions, sales plummeted even further. This is yet another example demonstrating that shoppers like to be fooled into believing they are saving a bundle when they really are not. (Witness J.C. Penney bringing back deep discounts off inflated regular prices after the use of honest regular prices caused sales to drop.)