Men’s Wearhouse Fires George Zimmer

George Zimmer, the founder and public face of Men's Wearhouse since 1973, has been fired as CEO.

george-zimmer-mens-wearhouse

George Zimmer, the founder and public face of Men’s Wearhouse since 1973, has been fired as CEO.

Bloomberg (“Men’s Wearhouse Board Fires Founder George Zimmer“):

Men’s Wearhouse Inc.’s board fired George Zimmer, the founder and public face of the company, as executive chairman without saying why and delayed its annual shareholder meeting so it can renominate directors without him.

The board expects to discuss with Zimmer the extent and terms of his future relationship with the company, Houston-based Men’s Wearhouse said today in a statement. The company didn’t provide a reason for the firing, and Ken Dennard, a Men’s Wearhouse spokesman who works for Dennard – Lascar Associates, declined to comment beyond the statement.

Men’s Wearhouse is parting ways with the man who founded the company in 1973 and stars in its commercials, delivering the signature tag lines, “You’re going to like the way you look. I guarantee it,” in his baritone voice. While Zimmer, 64, had been scaling back his professional responsibilities, including leaving the board of online education provider Apollo Group Inc. in March, the Men’s Wearhouse statement is puzzling, said Richard Jaffe, an analyst at Stifel Financial Corp.
“Why would the board terminate him?” Jaffe, who’s based in New York, said in a telephone interview. “My sense is that he was reluctant to let go, and that would make sense. He is not a mild-mannered and unassuming guy.”

[…]

Zimmer owns about 3.5 percent of the company’s shares, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
He opened the first Men’s Wearhouse in Houston with his college roommates, selling $10 pants and $25 polyester sport coats, according to the company’s website. He began appearing in the company’s commercials in 1986, extolling the company’s low prices.

Men’s Wearhouse now operates 1,143 stores selling suits, coats, clothing and accessories through its namesake, Moores, Tux and K&G chains.

I’ve never understood the appeal of Men’s Wearhouse, whose prices were always rather high given the low quality goods on offering. Suit customers on a tight budget would be far better off shopping at Nordstrom Rack, Marshall’s, Filene’s Basement, and several other outlets specializing in out-of-season clothing; shopping sales at Nordstrom’s and other high end department stores; or even eBay and quality consignment shops. But Zimmer was certainly an iconic salesman for his brand.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. anjin-san says:

    The backstory on this will be interesting, to the public, Zimmer is the Men’s Wearhouse. Of course, that may be a problem in of itself. I agree that their quality is not impressive, Its been many years since I bought anything there.

    Not sure I would recommend anyone shopping at Marshallls. lastcall.com & sierratradingpost.com both provide a steady stream of good deals on quality brands at attractive prices. Getting on the mailing lists for Thomas Pink, Hickey Freeman, Donald J. Pliner and so on can get you great sale/clearance deals. If you are willing to do a little work you have have an A list wardrobe for department store prices.

  2. James Joyner says:

    @anjin-san: If you’re not in a hurry, sales at the topflight stores are definitely the way to go. I’ve picked up some decent suits (Joseph Abboud, Calvin Klein) at Marshall’s but it’s more miss than hit. Marshall’s and TJ Maxx are also great for neckties, socks, undershirts, and the like. I get most of my dress shirts through Charles Tyrwhitt, which has $39 sales so often that it’s essentially their regular price.

  3. rudderpedals says:

    None of the dept stores or big names have a decent selection for those of us at the extremes, in this case the lower extreme (slight build) where it’s really hard to find “European” cuts that fit. Recommendations? Tampa area esp.

  4. Dan says:

    I thought this was a story about George Zimmerman until I click it and read the first paragraph.

  5. James Joyner says:

    @rudderpedals: That’s much harder. I’m a 42L and in the DC metro area, so there are a lot more options.

  6. legion says:

    @Dan: If he’d given that kid a suit instead of shooting him, he’d still be employed today 🙂

  7. Craigo says:

    From my limited experience, the employees are under the impression that they work in an actual clothier’s shop, and not an off the rack retailer. I’ve never had snootier answers to simple questions at any store, ever, which was jarring when i realized that the suits were of no better quality than the stuff I could get at Macy’s.

  8. rudderpedals says:

    @James Joyner: It is tough here in the sticks, there used to be a lone old timer’s place that catered to slim or beefy folks but its gone 20 years now. A great seamstress or tailor can save what can be saved so generally unembarrassed life goes on.

  9. anjin-san says:

    @ James

    If you’re not in a hurry, sales at the topflight stores are definitely the way to go

    Well, I picked up a Hickey Freeman suit for $397 at lastcall.com a while back (not a second). With tailoring, that’s less than $500 for a $1600 suit.

    Here’s a Ike Behar shirt, very solid for every day business wear, $50 with a coupon they sent me.

  10. dc says:

    Now watch the place go down the tubes without him, oh the irony

  11. anjin-san says:

    Going off topic – great video for the space exploration geeks in the room:

    NASA | IRIS: The Science of NASA’s Newest Solar Explorer

  12. DC Loser says:

    George Zimmer kinda reminds me of Sy Syms. A good suit will last you decades (if you don’t grow out of it). Pay extra for the quality and for a style that timeless and not trendy, and it will last you many years. I just wish most places I can get a second pair of slacks to go with a jacket as the bottom wears out faster than anything else.

  13. al-Ameda says:

    He’s gonna love unemployment, I guarantee it!

  14. MarkedMan says:

    One disappointment when I came to live in Shanghai: I thought I would get great prices on hand stitched custom fitted suits, shirts, blazers and trousers (side note: curse the surgeons that are our customers. One of the last group of Americans that regularly wear suits.) The long and short of it: when I need clothes I wait until I’m back in the states and then hit the Brooks Brothers outlet.

  15. Rick Almeida says:

    @James Joyner:

    Charles Tyrwhitt is a Godsend.