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Business news: Men's Wearhouse, Pet spending and Treadmill desks

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After an extended period that included overtures on both sides and possible “hookups” with other companies, Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. have finally combined to create what is now America’s fourth-largest menswear retail chain (with more than 1,700 U.S. stores and $3.5 billion in annual sales, the new merger is behind only Macy’s, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney).

Men’s Wearhouse bought out its rival for $1.8 billion. As a result, Bank Clothiers terminated its deal to acquire the parent company of Eddie Bauer. There had been much speculation within the industry about the challenges the two companies faced in the competitive world of menswear. And the acquisition comes after months of the two chains publicly fighting over who would acquire whom.

Together, Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank will have increased scale and breadth,” said Doug Ewert, CEO of Men’s Wearhouse.

Pet Spending

The pet industry has grown alongside the popularity of pets, expanding at a steady 4 percent to 6 percent a year, according to the American Pet Products Association.

At the recent Global Pet Expo (Orlando, Fla.) association president and CEO Bob Vetere informed buyers and sellers in attendance that Americans spend an all-time high of $55.7 billion on their pets last year; spending will be close to $60 billion this year.

The biggest part of 2013’s spending $21.6 billion, was for pet food (but more expensive and healthier).

What is feeding a large part of the growth now are the baby-boomers who have become empty-nesters and are looking for some other ways to find the love and affection they used to get from their kids,” Vetere said.
Dr. Jesse Vogelsang, a veterinarian and owner of the website www.pawcurious.com, agrees: “In the past, children were a reflection of us, and people are now extending that to their pets.”

Treadmill Desks and Wireless Headsets

A very noticeable workplace feature at Salo, a finance, accounting and human-resources staffing firm based in Minneapolis, are workers pacing on treadmills while talking on the phone or checking emails. Others use the treadmill desk stations (a recent study by the University of Minnesota discovered that walking while working might improve not only an employee’s health, but also boost productivity-by nearly 10 percent. There was no forced walking; walking on the treadmill was strictly voluntary. But even though workers had the option of sitting all day if they wanted, most did not).

Walking (or any type of moving) is especially good for increased brain power (cognitive skills); the employer benefits from the employee being active, healthy and more smart because there’s more blood flow to the brain.

And it’s not just Salo on the treadmills; more companies from Best Buy to Great Clips are setting up treadmills, standing desks and other equipment to encourage workers to get up and move (particularly the desk-bound).

Sources: “Men’s Wearhouse to buy Jos. A. Bank for $1.8 billion”-Associated Press-The Vindicator, March 12, 2014, “Spending on pets is at all-time high”-Associated Press-The Vindicator, March 14, 2014 and “Study: Treadmill desks, wireless headsets make workers better”-Star Tribune (Minneapolis)-The (Sunday) Vindicator, March 16, 2014

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