Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Slightly Off-Topic: Ross Dress for Less

Last month I wrote up a post which included a list of Daffy's main competitors in the closeout space. I purposely left out a number of stores, including the one I want to discuss in this post, because the merchandise is just awful and well below the quality of stuff sold at Daffy's.

So -- Ross Dress for Less - Including today, I've now visited three locations of the store (Orlando, San Francisco and Philly), each experience worse than the prior one. If you've ever gone to Burlington Coat Factory, you'll realize that most of the stuff there is coming from Macy's; but their suit and footwear department is at least passable and their young men's merchandise has gotten better the last few
seasons. That said, Ross is lucky to be getting in the stuff from Macy's. I've seen brands at Ross today that I haven't seen in years (perhaps I'm just not shopping at their suppliers). There is literally not one item of clothing I would ever buy in that store.

I will admit that I picked up a few houseware items for my new place, but I'd much sooner be shopping at TJMaxx/Marshalls/Homegoods for that stuff than I would at Ross.

I follow a limited number of stocks, and Ross Stores has been in my 'Closeout/Discount Stores' portfolio for a few years (wish I had bought the stock, but no). For the life of me I can't understand why the stock has done so well when they stock (no pun intended) absolute garbage on about 75% of their shelves. At least TJMaxx/Marshalls is a bit more lively; the Ross locations I've visited have been dimly lit and dreary.

I could just about do this same review for Syms which is another complete waste of time, and has in fact ruined the chain of Filene's Basement stores that they purchased by firing the Filene's buyer and stocking Syms merchandise on Filene's shelves. Neither Ross nor Syms are in the same league as Daffy's when it comes to quality of merchandise -- but sometimes I wonder with certain items whether Daffy's is going down that road, and it quite honestly scares me. A recent trip to NYC area discounter, Pay Half, confirmed that much of what's being carried in the young men's dept. at Daffy's is also at Pay Half. Pay Half is another one of those stores which generally stocks bottom of the barrel merchandise, and to see them carry the same stuff as Daffy's is a cause for concern.

Moral of the story: Daffy's - it's time to get your act together. You don't know how much potential you have; just stop stocking the junk found at low-end discounters and get back to the high-end Italian closeouts we've come to know and love.

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