Jacob (clothing retailer)
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Jacob (formally known as Boutique Jacob, Inc) is a private five store Canadian chain of women's and girls' clothing store chain based out of Montreal, Quebec. At its peak, Jacob once had over 200 stores all over Canada, usually in malls. In addition to its main brand Jacob, the company operated under the banners Jacob Connexion, Jacob Lingerie, Josef and Danz.
The company was founded in 1977 by its current president Jacob Basmaji. The original store opened in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec and still operates. The first store outside of Quebec was opened in Toronto in 1985. Jacob opened its first US store (in Cambridge, Massachusetts) circa 2000.
Stores were shuttered in 2014 and online site ceased operating in 2015. In April 2015 the online site has been restarted offering only their fragrance and plans to open a few stores in Quebec only. Jacob emerged from bankruptcy and will now be operating six stores chainwide, all of which are located in the province of Quebec. Among these five stores is the original 1977 Sorel store and another store in Old Quebec. The other three are all located in Montreal (which includes, among others, the downtown flagship store and another one at Galeries d'Anjou).
In 2005, the company launched Josef, seeking an older demographic which market research suggested were more active spenders.
Jacob had begun closing locations in 2008, shuttering 52 stores with 355 staff in two years. In November 2010, the company was owing $29 million to suppliers and employees, and $8.8 million to the National Bank of Canada. It received court protection from creditors, through the Quebec Superior Court and the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, planning to reformat its operations. While the company attributed its woes were pinned on entries by international retailers into the Canadian market, including H&M and Zara, it was also negatively impacted by "surgical shopping", a gap in the retail market increased during the recession, pushing purchasers to high end or value products, as opposed to middle market. Gap and Sears Canada were cited as casualties.
On May 6, 2014 the retailer declared bankruptcy; the company would be liquidating all 92 of its stores across Canada in the coming weeks. A challenging economy and an increase of new international retailers are being cited as part of the reason.
In April 2015, Jacob emerged from bankruptcy and will now be operating five stores chainwide, all of which are located in the province of Quebec. Among these five stores is the original 1977 Sorel store and another store in Old Quebec. The other three are all located in Montreal (which includes the downtown flagship store).
Jacob (branch) is the fashion store of the brand, targeting women in their early-twenties to mid-forties. They are known for a more formal attire compared to Jacob Connexion (listed below) including business suits and semi-formal dresses into their line of clothing. Sizes range from XS-L. The line includes jewellery and accessories along with dress pants, sweaters, cardigans, dress shirts, blouses, knit tunics, leggings, etc. Most Jacob stores are set up to have Jacob Lingerie embedded within, some are located side by side.
In 2010, a vice-president at market research firm Synovate Canada told the The Globe and Mail that Jacob catered "to a narrow clientele with slim-fitting outfits in a restricted array of neutral hues."
Jacob Connexion is the casual/weekend branch of Jacob. Jacob Connexion include jeans, polo shirts, essential items, Capri pants and sweatshirts. Jacob Connexion clothing is inspired from European designs. The smallest size is 2 and ranges up to 14. Like the "regular" Jacob store, tops are sized XS to L. Jacob Connexion opened in 1998 under the name Jacob Annexe. In 2003 the name was changed to Jacob Connexion. Jacob Connexion's target demographic is 25- to 35-year-old women.
The Jacob Lingerie boutique features items like bras, panties, lingerie, sleepwear and loungewear. Bra selection is sized 32A-B-C, 34A-B-C-D, 36A-B-C-D, 38A-B-C; panties XS-S-M-L; most other items sized XS-L.
Josef stores opened in 2005 (5 initial stores). The product line is targeting 35+ years old women.
Jacob Jr. was the branch for preschoolers to pre-teens. They featured a conservative line of clothing for girls ages five to 14. The line included sweaters, lingerie, jackets, jeans, sports attire, tees, camisoles and other accessories. They also carried a line of undergarments for the girls. Sizes range from XS - XXL in shirts and for pants from 2- 16. Common features of the Jacob logo included the number 1986 (or 86) and the squirrel.
The Jacob Jr. brand has been discontinued as the company has decided to only focus on its adult female demographic.
Jacob sold menswear under the "Jacob Homme" name for a few years in the 1980s and early 1990s
- Strauss, Marina (20 November 2010). "Fashion chain gets creditor protection". The Globe and Mail. Toronto ON. p. B2.
- Strauss, Marina (4 December 2010). "A retail class divide". The Globe and Mail. Toronto ON. p. B9.
- Strauss, Marina (29 January 2011). "Chains gird for foreign invasion". The Globe and Mail. Toronto ON. p. B5.
- Strauss, Marina (27 May 2005). "Blue jeans sell better with age". The Globe and Mail. Toronto ON. p. A1.