The new chain, SuitMax, with 25,000 square feet of selling space, will be open for business only three days a week -- Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
To bring these weekend shoppers in more often, SuitMax will offer a variety of departments that come and go, providing an element of surprise. The departments -- which could range from cigars to luggage -- are intended to provide shoppers with the thrill of discovery.
`WE'LL TRY ANYTHING'
"We'll try anything," said Richard Goldman, exec VP. "If we find selling fishing equipment works, that's great."
American men, on average, shop for clothing 1.5 times per year, Mr. Goldman said. The industry's holy grail is to get men to increase that to two visits per year.
J.C. Penney Co. has the largest share of the highly fragmented men's suit market, with a 14% share, and Men's Wearhouse is No. 2 with 8%, said Mr. Goldman, citing a recent industry study.
Mr. Goldman said most of the stores in Men's Wearhouse Value Priced Clothing division, which includes C&R Clothiers, NAL and a warehouse outlet for Men's Wearhouse, will be converted to SuitMax.
About a half-dozen SuitMax stores opened earlier this year in Texas, New Orleans and Atlanta, with the next round scheduled to open next month in Los Angeles.
EMPLOYEES IN ADS
SuitMax ads from Men's Wearhouse agency Red Ball Tiger, San Francisco, feature store employees showing how much customers save on the price of items such as sports coats if overhead from store amenities is stripped away.
At the same time, Men's Wearhouse, which has been moving into the Northeast, last week opened in Manhattan. Advertising is planned for later this month when additional stores open. Currently, four stores are set for New York, but the number is expected to grow to a dozen by yearend.
In the TV ad launch for the Big Apple, Chairman-CEO George Zimmer, who made the chain famous with the line "We guarantee it," is featured in a humorous spot reflecting on his New York heritage.
$45 MIL AD BUDGET
The total Men's Wearhouse budget, including SuitMax, will be $45 million this year, Mr. Goldman said.
Men's Wearhouse, with $630 million in sales in 1997 and 414 stores in 38 states, last week purchased Moores Retail Group, a Canadian chain with 112 men's apparel stores primarily in Canada.