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November 16, 2015

Jos. A. Bank Drops Buy 1 Suit, Get 4 Free Promos

Filed under: Internet,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:18 am

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:

Click || to stop

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.

Jos. A. Bank

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.


JAB shirt 1

JAB shirt 2

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.)

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  1. Now that I have been gainfully retired for eight years my wardrobe consists of about five jogging suits in various levels of wear. But back in another day I would have use for higher end clothing – which I despise, but found necessary. Battle dress for a business environment.

    I also happen to be a very astute shopper and with Bank it took about five minutes to figure out their long-used (and successful) scam. I would occasionally visit a store near where I worked and track items that I would purchase when the price became comfortable. I saw what is precisely mentioned in the article. So how can I trust the clothing when I can’t trust the company? I always shopped elsewhere.

    Comment by Rick — November 16, 2015 @ 8:07 am
  2. I’m with you Rick. I’ve been retired 6 yrs and my wardrobe budget has been reallocated to more casual purchases. Questions: Has anyone heard a commercial under the new ownership? Is that overly emphatic – bordering on orgasmic – voice-over actor still on the job? (Probably not). THAT alone was always a big red flag to me: an overly sincere carnival barker.

    Comment by Marty — November 16, 2015 @ 8:45 am
  3. Shoppers enjoy being fooled. It’s a sad realization I made after JC Penny failed to convince people that stores were manipulating prices and that steady prices with fewer ‘discounts’ would be a more consumer friendly model.

    I don’t buy suits, but the JA Bank commercials seemed sketchy to me because it is unlikely that they are selling quality suits if buying one suit provides enough profit for the company to give away three more. I wonder what goes through the minds of consumers when they see stuff like that. I hope those consumers are aware of the potential low quality of the suits.

    Comment by Wayne R — November 16, 2015 @ 9:44 am
  4. It is not just Jos. A. Banks doing this though.. All retailers seem to do it. I do not shop at Jos A. Banks due to all the sales they have. You just do not know what the real price of the product is in the first place.

    Comment by Richard — November 16, 2015 @ 12:02 pm
  5. I liked overly enthusiastic voice over, mainly because I couldn’t fathom how anyone could be that excited about anything, ever, much less a clothing sale. I think in recent years the actor started to sound less enthusiastic than the hey day.

    My experience with the quality of Jos. A Banks clothing is very limited, but I never participated in the buy 1 get 2 or 3 free sales because I never needed 3 or four suits or shirts or pants at a time, so it wasn’t an economical investment for me.

    In contrast to the pricing hassle described above, I was recently at an Ollie’s store, when I found two identical items with different prices. I took both to the register, and the cashier told me whichever was lowest was the correct price.

    Comment by Derlin — November 16, 2015 @ 3:19 pm

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