Joseph Abboud on Madison Avenue, Millennials and Men’s Wearhouse

by Elise Diamantini

Yesterday was a big day for Joseph Abboud. He started the morning headlining a breakfast meeting for the Retail Marketing Society at FIT, and finished the day hosting the grand opening of his eponymous Madison Avenue flagship.

The Joseph Abboud store is the first under Men’s Wearhouse’s ownership and Abboud said it will act as a “laboratory.” He elaborates, “If you think of the good/better/best pricing strategy, the Madison Avenue store is best. We’ve only been open for two weeks, but we’ve had no hesitation on price. We have an intention to create a men’s specialty environment that’s service oriented, special and memorable.”

Joseph Abboud adjusts a mannequin at the Madison Avenue store.
Joseph Abboud adjusts a mannequin at the Madison Avenue store.

When asked about a promotional strategy for the Madison Avenue store, Abboud laughs, “There is no promotional strategy. We’re selling everything at full price. But seriously, we don’t want our sales associates to lead with a discount.” He said the same is true for Men’s Wearhouse and uses their recent television ads as an example. “This is the first time we left price out of our ads. Instead we talk about quality, fabric, make and fit. It was a bold move and I’m proud of it.”


Abboud also talked about 1905, a new private brand for Jos. A. Bank, targeted toward Millennials. “Menswear is so exciting. Young guys have a hunger for style and information is everywhere. The biggest challenge is how do we connect with the way they’re thinking? We need to talk to them on their level, not the way we’d talk to them 20 years ago. We have a social media team that drags me along and I’m fascinated by it. We’re reaching consumers in a different way today.”

As for the future of retail, Abboud predicts that the vertical model will be even more important since it allows retailers to tell their story the way they want to. “We employ 800 people at the New Bedford, Mass. factory. We make 330,000 suits a year and can pass on a 30 to 40 percent savings to our customer. We can sell a $795 suit that’s made in America. And it’s not just a suit that’s made in America; it’s made well in America.” And what does the future hold for Abboud? He says, “We just launched a fragrance. We have a big business in Japan. The next play might be home furnishings. It’s not just about driving revenue, but building a brand.”