Or it could simply be due to the introduction and expansion of BB's Allen Edmonds offerings at or near the $350 price point, which allows BB to raise prices on the Peal line to further distinguish them from BB's everyday shoe offerings.
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When is the Next Brooks Brothers Sale? - Page 248
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His analysis is, to put it mildly, severely lacking. To the extent that the OER is gaming inflation, by his analysis we should've seen runaway inflation in the mid-2000s, when the housing market was overheated. Did we? No. Ah, but now that the housing market has collapsed, the OER is hiding all the inflation that we see in... nothing but food staples and Peal & Co. shoes? Uh, no.
"The complete and utter failure of owners' equivalent rent"
Yes tell us all about rising food prices during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
A more likely explanation of the BB price hikes is that, well, the high-end market can bear it. The fact is, our economy is sharply bimodal, and depending on the scope of your analysis, arguably even more polymodal. The luxury goods markets have been booming for years now. Other consumer markets? Not so much. My guess is tha BB sells the majority of its Peals to the highly affluent, and the highly affluent are doin' just fine.
And inflationary monetary policy benefits the highly affluent. So we are in agreement.
"The complete and utter failure of owners' equivalent rent"
The economics of farming were completely different in the pre-WWII era. The market was totally unregulated and, because of the effects of WWI on global supply, output was wildly unpredictable. By 1930, U.S. farmers were struggling to get by because of vast oversupply of food.
In 1930, the U.S. had more farmland than it does today, and farmland available has been on a decades-long decline. This persists even though U.S. population in 1930 was nearly 200 million people fewer than it is today. Take those trends and extrapolate to the global population, where at an even faster pace farmable land is decreasing and population growth is increasing, and it's easy to see why food prices didn't explode during the Dust Bowl but are now.
Point being, food supply wasn't stressed then like it is now because the market was highly inefficient. Today's market is much more efficient, but in an efficient market small changes in supply and demand have significant effects on price. Hence, starkly rising food prices in the face of shortages brought on by drought and environmental destruction.
Now, it's certainly true that because shoes are made from leather, shoe prices too are susceptible to cattle shortages, which we've been facing. That might be part of the reason to raise the price, though I think the primary reason is that BB is trying to push its brand upscale, and that's why they've been raising prices in strategic places. It's more upscale to sell a $600 pair of shoes than a $500 pair. Just as it's significant for them to sell the 1818 line of suits as a $1000 suit, even though no one in their right mind ever pays that much.
I also definitely agree with NewShoes above that, because they've expanded their AE lines, they need to differentiate the market a little better.
And, for the record, I never said the OER was a good measure of anything. Just disputing that it's a secret tool to hide inflation.
Edited by urfloormatt - 2/18/13 at 11:13am
And on that point, some of the math in this discussion is sloppy. The price increase on Peals from $528 to $598 is a hike of about 12%, and the increase from $598 to $648 is a hike of 10%. That is nowhere near 25% YoY (it's not even 25% in all), and not all that much considering the price of Peals from 2008-2012 was stagnant or close to it. (What was the price before $528, $499? That was a hike of 5%).
Sorry, you're right there. I didn't even crunch the numbers. Somehow I just grabbed the number 25% from his post. I guess I was kind of groggy when I wrote this, lol.
Where we disagree is that you attributed the price increase of the BB shoes to core inflation, and I think that seems highly unlikely. The effect of inflationary monetary policy on the affluent is somewhat tangential, though sure, inflation tends to benefit the affluent.
Side note, but arguably, inflation also has no tremendous effect on the working poor, as minimum wage is typically indexed to inflation. And assuming they're heavily in debt, then paying back a fixed amount with heavy monetary inflation actually improves their situation to a degree.
The group inflation tends to hit hardest is the middle class. Also in a lot of debt, usually, and inflation helps them there to a degree -- but it takes a deeper bite of their income and cost of living.
Well, they have kept prices pretty steady on most of their other goods. It's the upper-tier stuff that they're pricing higher YOY right now. Probably because that's where they can get the best margin, and because the BB high-end customer likely isn't moving his business elsewhere -- whereas BB can't risk noticeable price hikes on the more standard-issue goods, or they're lose that segment to the heavy competition.
They certainly are playing the high-low discount game a lot more often these days, and I'd be curious about what percentage of their sales is coming from discount events and memberships. While they're not (yet?) in Joseph A. Bank high-low territory, that has certainly been a trend among mass market clothing retailers in recent years. I sincerely hope Brooks doesn't start playing that game to the hilt.
Minimum wage purchasing power peaked in 1968/1970, just before Nixon abandoned Bretton Woods. It is Social Security that is "indexed to inflation", but as I have pointed out, CPI severely under-reports inflation. Try telling a SS beneficiary that their benefits are keeping pace with their expenses "because the government says they are". I hope you like being hit with a cane.
Good question. I don't know RLBL fit, but I tried on Brooks Brother's Milano yesterday and it is the slimmest of anything I have tried on.
I'm pretty thin at 5' 10.5" and 150 lbs, and wear a 38 S from most makes, even the modern slim cut suits like the Ludlow from J Crew and Pal Zileri, but I had to go to a 40 S in BB Milano. It was just too tight at the upper waist with the jacket buttoned - it literally hugged me tight. The Milano pants are slim cut too (had to take a 32 waist instead of the usual 31). But I loved the pants and bought two pair - would have gotten a jacket too if they had the right color.
I don't know if you have any other Brooks Brothers pants, but I find that they are less vanity sized than other makes. I typically wear 30 tagged waist with almost every brand, but with Brooks Brothers I have to wear a 31.
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