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Where did Johnston & Murphy go wrong?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by dieselman89, Dec 25, 2010.

  1. Son Of Saphir

    Son Of Saphir Senior member

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    yes. :nodding:
     
  2. Fortysomething

    Fortysomething Senior member

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    Unfortunately, there are enough people who will not know or be able to tell the difference and still buy them for a number of reasons. Reasons could include, they "don't know any better" (that sounds worse than I meant it), they think they are getting a better shoe than they really are, or it is an upgrade over what they are used to buying. So for the high end shoe lovers, the current buyers of the shoes will allow J&M and similar companies to stay the course rather than change back to their former selvles.
     
  3. TonyThe Tailor

    TonyThe Tailor Senior member

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    I just picked up Florsheim for my shop after comparing them to Cole-Haan, and J&M. The Limited, Imperials and Casuals are really showing the Duckie Brown influence in quality and style.
     
  4. kmdsimpson

    kmdsimpson Senior member

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    I think part of this is also the way they are retailed in their own shoe stores. For people that don't know or don't care, a J&M store seems a cut above a department store selling shoes. They present all the trappings of a fine men's store, even if the shoes are not as high quality as they used to be. All part of the marketing scheme. I think the level of service, as least, is an upgrade over the usual shoe buying experience available to most people.
     
  5. Ivon

    Ivon Senior member

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    The whole J&M story reads like a B school case study. Google Michael Porter and his theories on competition. In a nutshell, you compete on either quality or price, stuck in the middle and you are squeezed at both ends. In American made shoes, Alden/AE represent the high end vs J&M, Kenneth Cole, etc. Globally, Alden/AE are position as a lower cost fine shoe relative to English benchmade shoes or Italian fashion shoes from the usual suspects. The conglomerate that owns has chosen their market to concentrate on. Seems to be mass market, trad types that want a "nice" dress shoe, but are more price than quality conscious in mainstream mass market channels. My specialization is finance, this is just what it looks like to me.
     
  6. Patek

    Patek Senior member

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    This. And I bet they are making more money than ever!
     
  7. kmdsimpson

    kmdsimpson Senior member

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    Yep!
     
  8. atlrus

    atlrus Well-Known Member

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    Don't see what the big deal is. We need dress shoes in all price ranges, it would be pretty stupid to have only $300+ shoes on the market.

    I really can't imagine every car salesman/low-level bank employee/ etc. spending $3K-$5K on outfitting themselves with good quality dress shoes, then another $20K for good suits, etc.. Not when they can walk in the dept. store and get a pair of the aforementioned shoes for $30 on sale. If you maintain them and wear them properly, they can last a couple of years easily, which is more than reasonable for the price.
     
  9. Larson McCord

    Larson McCord Senior member

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    that is reasonable but it seems that J&M went from a high quality US made shoe to a low quality Indian/Chinese made shoe over the years. There are PLENTY of low end shoes to fill those low end markets. I suppose it pumps up sales to be in the more mass category so it's tough to blame those running the company, I googled them and their profits and sales are both up substantially over last year.
     
  10. atlrus

    atlrus Well-Known Member

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    Actually, when I am at a department store all I see is Bostonians, J&M and Florsheim as either the inexpensive choice or the only choice. I would say they did a good job of taking over that market, which is way more profitable.

    At the end of the day, it's what the consumer wants. The current consumer cant afford $300 quality so they go for the reasonable price lower quality instead. J&M going for the mass market has probably done more good - they've remained profitable and there is a good chance that if they were to remain in the high quality market, they would've not only gone under, but taken either AE or Alden down with them, because there are just not enough high end consumers to support all three at the same time.
     
  11. Ivon

    Ivon Senior member

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    That is where they position themselves as a brand. They are also generally better made than the craptastic $140 shoes you can get at Banana Republic or Zara, only those fashion brands get some love from the younger guys because of the look. I wouldn't those monstrosities on your feet. There is a diffence between modest and cheap.
     
  12. Ivon

    Ivon Senior member

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    Forgot to add, it was almost a rite of passage for a shoe challenged recent grad, your first real dress shoes, Florsheim or J&M if you couldn't afford AE or Dacks. In my case, where I live, make do til the Dacks factory sale. The fashions will pass as beaters, but not much more that that. I give my no longer worn shoes to a younger friend of mine, who I used to tutor in fancy when I had time. Now my Minime has grown up. He once swore by Banana Republic shoes, now he asks if I've bought new shoes recently....

    I love browsing the B/S here in search of deals but can't bother selling through the B/S, so he gets my old shoes.
     
  13. Fortysomething

    Fortysomething Senior member

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    Very good points. I think the general sentiment is more that it is a shame that J & M pretty much lowered its quality rather than maintaining its main line and perhaps creating a second line to compete in the mass market.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012

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