POSITIONING: Bullock & Jones facelift?

Is the venerable Bullock & Jones showing its age? Having closed its landmark San Francisco store in February, the $14 million menswear cataloger – which has been in business since 1853 – is getting a new look aimed at luring buyers younger than its current customers, who have an average age of 45. Colorful shirts and textured ties are replacing some of the more somber, buttoned-up suits the catalog has traditionally sold.

A source who asked not to be identified says that Bullock & Jones, which was acquired by Saks Fifth Avenue in summer 1998, commissioned a focus group earlier this year to determine consumers’ reaction to the catalog. The findings revealed that if the once-vibrant catalog was to stay vital, it had better refocus on a younger, hipper audience. “Bullock & Jones finally figured out that chasing the older male customers wasn’t profitable,” says the source.

Saks’s own Folio Men’s Collection, which launched last August, is going after the same audience. But according to spokeswoman Jennifer Man, Saks has no plans to merge the two menswear books.

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