TECHNOLOGY

George Zimmer’s Generation Tux acquires online rival

BY Marianne Wilson

The fledgling but growing online formal menswear rental category tuxedo rentals market has a new power player.

Generation Tux, the online suit and tuxedo rental company founded in 2014 by retail veteran George Zimmer, who founded Men’s Wearhouse, has completed the acquisition of Menguin for $25 million. The announcement comes at a time when Menguin, founded in 2013, has experienced three years of 800% compound annual growth rate, according to a company statement.

"I’ve always known a good suit when I’ve seen one, just as I’ve always known a good investment when it comes my way,” said Zimmer. “We built Generation Tux to be the ultimate high-tech, high-touch clothing rental experience. Menguin’s digital marketing and entrepreneurial leadership sparked my interest; upon meeting, it became clear that we could do more together than apart.”

The two companies will operate as separate brands under the new holding company, Gen Tux, while leveraging their combined operational, technological, fashion and fulfillment expertise. Executive leadership of both organizations will move up to the holding company level, with Zimmer serving as chairman and CEO of Gen Tux.

Bringing Menguin into the fold is part of Generation Tux’s larger e-commerce strategy to strengthen its technological foothold and establish clear market dominance in the yet nascent industry of online tux rentals.

“When George first approached us about marrying the entrepreneurial spirit and marketing technology of Menguin with the backend technology, brand legacy and menswear expertise inherent in the Generation Tux name, we immediately embraced his vision for the union,” said Justin Delaney, now president of Menguin and Generation Tux. “Together, we are well-positioned to become the singular, dominant player in the online formal menswear rental category.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Kohl’s stores to accept returns – from Amazon

BY Marianne Wilson

Kohl's is extending its collaboration with Amazon in a way that is almost sure to drive increased traffic into its stores while solving one of the online giant's biggest challenges.

The department store retailer will begin accepting Amazon.com returns at 82 Kohl's stores in Los Angeles and Chicago. The chain will not only ship eligible items back to an Amazon fulfillment center free of charge, but will also pack up the goods for shipping if the customer has not done so.

In addition, parking spots near Kohl's store entrances will be designated for customers making Amazon returns. The program kicks off in October.

“This is a great example of how Kohl’s and Amazon are leveraging each other's strengths – the power of Kohl’s store portfolio and omnichannel capabilities combined with the power of Amazon’s reach and loyal customer base," said Richard Schepp, chief administrative officer, Kohl's.

Earlier this month, Kohl’s announced plans to add an Amazon "smart home experience' in-store shop in 10 select Kohl’s locations across the Los Angeles and Chicago areas starting in October. The 10 Kohl’s stores with the in-store shops will have Amazon returns integrated into the overall Amazon experience, located prominently at the front of the store.

In August, Kohl's announced plans to make nearly half its locations "operationally smaller" through balancing inventory and adjusting fixtures." In a note to clients, Gordon Haskett analyst Chuck Grom wrote that the Kohl's-Amazon returns program is clearly part of the department store retailer's "standard to small" store initiative.

Grom added that the returns program is "an intelligent way for Kohl’s to: leverage unutilized parts of its store footprint and (b) help improve frequency (and potentially drive sales higher) in its stores …. All told, we like the moves Kohl’s is taking as it continue to think outside the box and forward think on how to evolve in today’s quickly changing backdrop."

As for Amazon, the program offers it a new way to tackle one of its biggest challenges: returns. "One of the very few complaints consumers share with Amazon is on the product return front," Grom said.

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M.Rice says:
Sep-21-2017 05:06 pm

This all sounds too easy. Are there any restrictions, prior authorizations, pre-approvals, etc that are required? Thank you

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TECHNOLOGY

Study: Back-to-school shopping not over yet

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

School may be back in session, but the back-to-school (BTS) shopping frenzy continues.

And as parents continue to purchase merchandise from newly distributed classroom supply lists, 42% of BTS shoppers expect to spend more this school year compared to 2016, according to new research and insights from Acosta, a sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) and retail merchandising industry.

According to the data, 52% of shoppers made their first BTS purchase before Aug. 1, and they expect to spend, on average, $912 this year. The biggest spenders for the season were Dads (male shoppers average $1,489); Gen Z/Millennial shoppers ages 18-36 (average $1,210); and shoppers with kids ages 7-12 (average $1,202).

“Unlike the holidays, the back-to-school shopping season is a little more fluid as schools across the U.S. are back in session at various times from early August until mid-September, with the advertising push from retailers beginning as early as July,” said Colin Stewart, senior VP at Acosta. “Although schools are already back in session at this point, retailers will still see sales continue as students are given classroom supply lists and get a better sense of what they will need for their particular areas of study.”

BTS shopping also continues to span a wide variety of categories, including school clothing (32%); school supplies and backpacks (26%); lunch/snack food (18%); and computer electronics (16%). With 54% of shoppers planning to pack their children school lunches each week during the school year, shoppers indicated they are buying easy-to-pack items including individually portioned foods (57%) and single-serving beverages (52%), along with plans to purchase lunch boxes or reusable lunch/snack totes (46%).

Meanwhile, 80% of shoppers purchased or plan to purchase writing/paper supplies, with category purchases planned across many retail outlets including mass merchants (71%), office supply stores (30%), dollar stores (23%) and grocery stores/supermarkets (22%).

With so many items to buy across multiple categories, BTS shoppers turn to a number of places to help them make purchasing decisions. Shoppers indicated being influenced in-store when making back-to-school purchasing decisions, including by items on sale at the shelf (58%), aisle displays (45%), and in-store flyers/ads (42%).

Online tactics from retailers/stores, such as emails (41%), ads (39%), and social media posts (28%), were also influential to shoppers. Meanwhile, 47% of shoppers were influenced by coupons.

Shoppers also researched their purchases online. The most popular categories researched including computer electronics (46%); skincare or makeup items (38%); and school clothing (36%). However, fewer of these shoppers (21%, 20% and 14%, respectively) reported purchasing these items online instead of in a retail store.

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