JACOB Connexion stores have disappeared from the Canadian retail scene. I must have missed this news when it was first announced in early August, but I started noticing last week that window displays in JACOB stores – one of my favourite shopping destinations – flaunt the slogan “Now just one JACOB.”
Rather than having separate stores for the brand’s traditional, dressy line of clothing and its more casual “Connexion” line, the Montreal-based retailer is uniting the two banners. Every store will boast the JACOB name, and will carry both casual and dressy fashions. The stores will be a “one-stop shopping destination” for any occasion, the company says on its website.
A separate chain of JACOB Lingerie stores will continue to operate.
The transformation process began in May, when the company began revamping its 61 JACOB Connexion stores. Fifty-eight of the stores became new JACOB stores, and three became JACOB Lingerie locations, according to the company.
What the press release doesn’t mention, however, is that several Connexion stores closed as part of the process. Many malls used to feature both JACOB and Connexion stores, and it appears that in most of these situations, the Connexion stores have closed their doors.
For example, the JACOB Connexion locations in Square One Shopping Centre and the Toronto Eaton Centre are no longer listed on the malls’ store directories. It’s unclear how many other Connexion stores have similarly vacated their former premises.
The decision to eliminate the Connexion banner suggests that the stores weren’t pulling in enough sales to be profitable. Folding the casual clothing line into the company’s existing JACOB stores could prove to be an effective strategy. It will cut costs significantly for the retailer, while potentially bringing new customers into the stores, and potentially boosting sales among the company’s existing loyal customer base with a wider range of merchandise.
But the extent to which the merchandise in the JACOB stores will change remains unclear. If sales of the more casual fashions continue to falter now that they’re offered in JACOB stores, the Connexion line could eventually disappear altogether.
The retailer is spinning the decision as an effort to appeal to time-strapped shoppers who may not have time to visit multiple stores during a trip to the mall. JACOB conducted research involving more than 25,000 customers, and found that women want to be able to find everything they need in one store.
With a busy schedule myself, I can certainly relate to this. Maybe the new united banner will mean I’ll be able to find even more outfits, more efficiently, from JACOB. My closet is already filled with plenty of skirts, pants, dress shirts and sweaters from the store, many of which I wear regularly to work and dressy social events. I also have a few outfits from the Connexion line, and I’ll definitely miss perusing these stores for casual sweaters and tops.
But if the revamped banner can deliver the best of both worlds in a single store, perhaps I won’t miss the Connexion stores, after all. Perhaps one JACOB will be enough.