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When is the Next Brooks Brothers Sale?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by NAMOR, May 12, 2011.

  1. musicmax

    musicmax Senior member

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    Our economy is in a state of stagflation similar to the mid-1970s. Prices are rising because the Fed is flooding the world with money and monetizing the US debt (its most recent purchase from Primary Dealers was for Treasury instruments issued only two weeks prior). The housing crash and an accounting trick called "hedonics" are masking inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index. The largest component of CPI (a bit under 25% weighting) is something called "Owner's Equivalent Rent", wherein the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls up homeowners and asks them "if you were to put your house up for rent, how much would you expect to charge". Obviously as housing prices have fallen, so has the wild-ass-guess called OER. Hedonics comes from the same root as the word "hedonism", and is a measurement of the "pleasure" derived from a product. Using hedonics, BLS has declared that the replacement of the iPad with the iPad 2 at the same price is deflationary, as is the replacement of a $299 27" CRT television with a $1000 plasma screen.

    Meanwhile the costs of basic foodstuffs - sugar, flour, milk, etc. - have increased anywhere from 70% to 250% since 2008. As have Brooks Brothers shoes.
     
  2. Big Texas

    Big Texas Senior member

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    I was fine with your analysis up until the final few sentences. I think it's a stretch to tie 25% YOY increases in BB Peal shoe prices to core inflation. First, because the BB increase is outpacing core inflation by a big margin. Second, because Peal shoes are a luxury good (maybe not Robb Report, capital-L luxury, but luxury in as much as they're priced in what must be the 95th percentile of men's dress shoes in the country).

    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.

    Now, if the prices of -all- BB dress shoes were going up by roughly the same margin YOY, I think you'd be onto something. But AFAIK, it's just their Peals.

    An alternative hypothesis would be that most of the Peals are made in the UK, and there might be import and COGS factors involved. But these seem insufficient to account for such steady price hikes. (Good way to test this hypothesis: have the prices of other A. Sargent and Crockett & Jones shoes been increasing dramatically YOY?)
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  3. urfloormatt

    urfloormatt Well-Known Member

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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.

    Food staples have seen rising prices because environmental factors are straining supply (the turbulent weather of the last few years has produced record low crops of cattle, grain, corn, fruit, etc.) and an ever increasing population is juicing demand. Peal & Co. shoes, conversely, have increased in price because BB knows they can sell just as many on a 10% hike.

    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%).

    Given that the corporate discount sale has increased from 25% to 30%, and there are ever more opportunities to claim discount prices, they're not going to leave base prices stagnant.

    One other thing to point out, as the resale market becomes more robust, it increases prices because the value of the good has risen. This is why textbooks are outrageously priced, and one reason why the cost of video games has increased in the last decade. In other words, the easier it is for SF members to sell their shoes on eBay or where have you, the more BB can charge to sell you a new pair.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  4. Thanks SF (a new me)

    Thanks SF (a new me) Senior member

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    due to price increase, even @ 35% discount, you'd be better off ordering from C&J directly
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  5. New Shoes1

    New Shoes1 Senior member

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    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.
     
  6. musicmax

    musicmax Senior member

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    "The complete and utter failure of owners' equivalent rent"
    http://www.financialsensearchive.com/fsu/editorials/iacono/2008/0815.html

    "When including soaring home prices instead of the tumbling cost of rent in 2003 (back when anyone and everyone was buying houses with no money down, bidding home prices skyward while pulling the rug out from under the rental market), core inflation would have measured more than four percent, not the one percent reading that is now characterized as the "2003 deflation scare" among dismal scientists."​

    Yes tell us all about rising food prices during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
     
  7. js4design

    js4design Senior member

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    I do not have a background in economics and have only my own experience to draw on, but there does seem to be a correlation between an increase in both the frequency and percentage off of sales over the past 4 or 5 years and an increase in the pre-sale price. And to those that called the math used into question, an increase from $528 to $648 is $120, or 23%, which is why I said nearly 25%.
     
  8. musicmax

    musicmax Senior member

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    And inflationary monetary policy benefits the highly affluent. So we are in agreement.
     
  9. sjmin209

    sjmin209 Senior member

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    I'm sure increases in leather prices have nothing to do with this.
     
  10. urfloormatt

    urfloormatt Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  11. SuitedDx

    SuitedDx Senior member

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    Okay, I admit it. It's my fault. :)
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. Big Texas

    Big Texas Senior member

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    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.
     
  13. Big Texas

    Big Texas Senior member

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    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.
     
  14. Big Texas

    Big Texas Senior member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  15. New Shoes1

    New Shoes1 Senior member

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    This discussion is a good example of why the economics theory thread is one of the most popular threads at SF. Oh wait a second . . . [​IMG]
     
  16. musicmax

    musicmax Senior member

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    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.
     
    1 person likes this.
  17. Bexcellence

    Bexcellence Senior member

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    How does the BB Milano suit fit compared to RLBL?
     
  18. redboat

    redboat Senior member

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    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.
     
  19. Winston S.

    Winston S. Senior member

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    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.
     
  20. LaymanX

    LaymanX Senior member

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    Has anyone heard of the upcoming MTM sale? (20% off). Anyone think the corporate discount will stack with it? Probably not, but just checking!
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013

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