Eddie Bauer will need to pick up steam right away. In 2014, the combined company is expected to earn between $255 and $265 of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Black said the Jos. A Bank business should contribute about $180 million. But Eddie Bauer only generated around $63 million of ebitda last year, indicating it needs another $10 million to $20 million to bridge the gap.
2015 will be even tougher. The combined company's 2015 target of $325 million to $340 million includes a $25 million boost from cost savings, but both brands will need to perform according to plan to reach the total.
All this comes as Jos. A Bank is trying to restore its key business and resist the temptation to discount. Analysts estimate the company's 2013 ebitda was $145 million, down from a peak of $185 million in 2011. While the company has about 100 more stores now than in 2011, the retail environment has been highly competitive in the early weeks of 2014.
And there is no sign that Men's Wearhouse will be any less aggressive this year. It has adopted brand-name designers and uses many promotions that are virtually identical to Jos. A Bank. That means any growth in margins for Jos. A Bank will depend on superior merchandising.
Jos. A Bank trades at 18.8 times forward earnings, suggesting investors are already counting on significant growth in the next couple of years. With nearly perfect performances needed from both Jos. A Bank and Eddie Bauer, the stock could go out of fashion in a hurry.
—By CNBC's John Jannarone; follow him on Twitter @jannarone