Tuesday, January 12, 2010

J.Crew In The News: Going Global {kind of}

"Thanks!" to RatsOnParade (in this post) who let us know about an article over at the Stylelist (click here to read it in its entirety) about J.Crew's future plans.
J. Crew Expanding to Canada, United Kingdom
By Lisa Marsh
January 12, 2010

J.Crew is expanding its Internet business into Canada and the U.K.

But after that, the company's chairman and CEO Millard "Mickey" Drexler has no desire to get much bigger.

"Bigger is not better -- better is always better," Drexler explained. "It's not a matter of what's been, but what will be. We could get bigger, could get faster and open a couple more factory stores, but we don't want to. There's no race -- the race is to maintain the integrity of the product."

Drexler was part of panel presentation at the Financo annual merchandising industry chief executive event Monday at New York City's Harmonie Club on the Upper East Side.

The retail industry is always changing, and now is not an exception, if anything, it's moving faster, Drexler said. "When I started at Ann Taylor in 1980, August Max was our main competitor. Now, three-quarters of the companies we competed with are not around."

He continued, "When I started at the Gap, County Seat was our number one competitor. Now, most of the people I work with have never heard of Country Seat.

"The world is always changing -- in my opinion, things are changing faster than ever. The past year was a big wake-up call. It's survival of the fittest. Most retail and fashion companies will not be around in 20 years." ...
I am not sure what this means for customers in Canada, since they already have the ability to purchase from J.Crew over the Internet. Does this mean plans for brick & mortar (B&M) stores in the country are scrapped? :( (Refer to the September 4th "J.Crew Sets its Sights on Canada!" post.)

However, this is great news for customers in the U.K. Right now, only international customers from Japan and Canada could purchase J.Crew by mail.

What are your thoughts on the article? Thoughts on the move in Canada? Are you excited to hear about J.Crew's move to the U.K.? :)

32 comments:

  1. i agree with mickey...they can expand all they want, as long as the quality doesn't suffer as a result! lucky for the UK!!!

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  2. Ha,Ha,Ha "interigty of the product"
    Mickey is so funny.
    Apperently he doesn't buy Jcrew, only oversees it.
    Don't get me wrong I still love Jcrew but after having bought from there for 12 years I've definately noticed the decline of quality. The one and only thing I've seen get better has been their basic tees. But seriously I think Jcrew would benifit from scaling back crappy recycled monthly roll-outs for smaller more quality ones.

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  3. When is the big question for me. When? will the UK expansion happen.

    Also agree with you completely on decline in quality jinks. Newbies have no clue how good things used to be....been shopping JCrew longer than I care to mention:)

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  4. Stylelist just posted another article about J.Crew coming to the UK. Again, it's internet only - and don't they *already* have the ability to order online? Maybe the exchange rates won't be so crazy if there's an actual jcrew.co.uk or jcrew.ca site - but, yeah....strange!

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  5. I'm wondering what J. Crew is going to do about Crew Clothing company which is very preppy leanings, is not new and is already in the UK:

    http://www.crewclothing.co.uk/Women-DEPTWOMENS/

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  6. Elizabeth,
    That will be VERY confusing...

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  7. Elizabeth - thanks so much for the link to Crew Clothing! SO CUTE! I may have just found my new (non-J.Crew) outlet! As if I needed another place to spend money... :)

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  8. If you follow UK news/gossip for fun, Kate Middleton often wears Crew Clothing. That Shelby jacket in the women's section is very reminiscent of the old J. Crew, I have a jacket very much like it.

    It looks like Crew Clothing is a blend of Ralph Lauren and old J. Crew. I've shopped in London and Ralph Lauren is crazy expensive there so this may be the local alternative.

    I'm just wondering how J. Crew competes with Crew Clothing and how UK customers will receive Tissue Tees that can't be washed? If they are planning to do online only, it will be tricky since we can just run to the local B&M and return or exchange it. And if shipping costs are pricey domestically, I can only imagine to the UK. Bet they never see FS codes!

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  9. I'm looking forward to this, while I might not live any closer to a store I should be able to save on the taxes and tariffs. Sometimes the additional cost is over 20%.

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  10. Heh, I just ordered their Spring catalog. US was an option.

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  11. "the race is to maintain the integrity of the product." - That's the phrase that made me raise my eyebrows, too. J.Crew is losing this race, badly. Reading the comments of Drexler & Lyons, it seems there is a vast disconnect between what corporate sees and what reality is.

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  12. La Belle Helene, I agree - it's like they never see anything beyond a prototype.

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  13. I'm in Canada and have been ordering JCrew by phone for about 20 years, so what "expansion" is Mickey talking about if not a B&M store? I'm hoping against hope they open one here...it's long overdue. The duty, taxes and shipping is ridiculous...and yet I still order monthly...!

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  14. Clicquot, I'm with you, I'm confused! "Internet expansion" into Canada? Huh? Like you, I've been ordering from JCrew for a long time (15 yrs). Maybe they are going to open a warehouse IN Canada somewhere near the border to save us the duties, exchange rate, etc. I'm not sure I would care because I bet it wouldn't be much cheaper (especially considering the sales tax we pay).

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  15. Jinks, if you're referring to the perfect fit tees, ITA. I've been wearing them for many years and IME they are actually better quality than a couple years ago. I really like the heavier weight fabric. It's still very fitted, but not tight or see-through. I really get tired of the thin, transparent tees. Sometimes I don't want to have to layer or hand wash my tees.

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  16. If not B&Ms, maybe the expansion will mean there will be shipping centers in Canada and the UK, so the shipping fees for foreign JCAs won't be so soul crushingly high? (Maybe throw a bone to us stateside and do flat fee/ free ship no limit while you're at it, hmm, Mickey?)

    OT: Speaking of Mickey's former employer, I've got a one time online Gap code for an extra 15% off, good until Jan. 31. If anyone wants it, first to email me at klg_12@hotmail can have it.

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  17. Looks like we're on the same page DaniBP, sorry to ape your idea!

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  18. OT, meant to mention - received the Sweeping Ruffles shirt. Fits TTS and maybe it would be cute on someone taller or someone that stands like the model in the picture. On me, especially in the back, it looked beyond silly. The fabric is a nice cotton but it's a bit thin; I could clearly see through to my skin and my jeans. Maybe you wouldn't in brighter light. I think this shirt was made for a tall person (like Jenna).

    For those that missed it and want it, my guess is there will be a few returns. The idea of it is very cute.

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  19. I don't see them opening a warehouse in Canada, LE and LLbean don't, it is too expensive. My guess is the writer was under the impression they do not already ship to Canada. It would be nice to see a store here though.

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  20. Boden is a UK company. They ship to the US from their UK warehouse and orders take 2 weeks to get. They do not have a warehouse in the US for their women's or men's line. They do have a US warehouse for their mini Boden (kids) line. So just b/c JCrew will ship to UK does not mean they will have a US warehouse....However, Boden adult returns do go to a US base then back to the UK.

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  21. Elizabeth,
    I was surprised the "Sweeping Ruffles" shirt sold out. I saw it in person at my B&M, and I thought it looked huge. I think you are right, there will be returns.

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  22. o/t BUT...ladies, SOS. I have a j.crew cashmere cardigan from last year - it is the SUPER chunky collection item. I've worn it maybe three or four times? Anyway, yesterday I noticed that under the arm it is unraveling! What the heck!? This is a $300 sweater! (first, I'm glad I didn't pay full price). I've never, ever had this problem with a sweater before. Does anyone know if it can be fixed? I'm so bummed! (and bugged) Thanks!

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  23. Has anyone tried item 21495, the Scalloped petal top?

    I just received it. And I am disappointed!

    It's true to size. I ordered the same size I wear in all perfect shirts and button down shirts and dresses.

    However, the neckline didn't look at all like it does on the website! Hopefully this makes sense, on the website it looks like all the scalloped "bits" are nice and laying flat and point down. The one that I got in the mail, some of them were sticking up towards my neck and this isn't just a poor packing creasing problem. When I tried to flatten down the scallops, I realized that they are joined together, stitched together, that way! Looking at myself in the mirror, I kept thinking to myself that I should fix the poorly creased and smushed scallops, but alas, they are sewn on that way.

    Also- there is a tie waist, which i appreciate, however, the "waist" on this shirt was not the "waist" that I like to accentuate. I like to go a little higher, but since the ties are attached by those little strings, the shirt wants to be tied lower. I'm short, 5'2" so that's probably why. I guess I could remove the strings and just make sure to never lose that darn little belt but it's not worth it considering that the scallops are so strange. I'll send a picture to Alexis and maybe she'll post it so you can all see.

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  24. Well, I used to live in Europe and order from US retailers (LLBean and Lands' End). It was EXPENSIVE and a HASSLE to get. First of all, it takes for ever to get to you. Second, they slap import duties, VAT etc etc, and, oftentimes, I had to go to the post office to pick up the package (remember the unions, strikes, etc etc in the EU?). So all in all, I stopped my online overseas shopping and had a relative in the US forward the packages to me, or did all my shopping while visiting the US. Also, I am not sure how JCrew is going to handle the returns, and there will be a few, considering the decreasing quality, inconsistent sizing etc.
    I buy quite a few things from JCrew - I am one of those customers who always gets the nice gift from MIckey - but I would not purchase from them overseas. Brora is one of my fav stores in the UK, their cashmere is divine, so is Johnstons of Elgin.

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  25. DinDin,
    I also was upset to get an order that was not "as shown" on the website. I ordered 2 colors in the "merino ethereal ruffle cardigan", and the buttons were totally different than shown. Instead of the siple pearl buttons, they were those plastic dome buttons that looked very cheap. I returned them both. If they had been on sale I would have kept them and changed the buttons. They need to get their act together and properly represent what they are delivering.

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  26. Hey Everyone! Extra 20% Final Sale! Plus free ship on all orders of $150.
    Finally!

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  27. Heidi, you were lucky to see it in the stores. My stores have no stock, much less this one. If I had seen it I would not have spent $100 to look like a wedding tent :)

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  28. Elizabeth - the model in the photo makes the shirt look like it has a shape! Looks great in the photo, but not even close in real life. But then you know that!

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  29. As someone who has lived in the UK for going on five years, I am very happy with this development. Shopping in the UK tends to be an uphill battle - they haven't caught on to the idea of natural materials (silk, wool, cotton) at reasonable prices (it's normal to pay close to £100/$150 for acrylic and polyester) so I have been doing more or less all my shopping in the States since I moved over here. When Banana Republic opened here in 2008 it was a godsend, and being able to order from J.Crew would be awesome.

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  30. JC,
    Really sorry to hear about your sweater. I have had similar experience my JC sweaters and I take very good care of my clothes. Almost OCD...and JCrew stuff still falls apart. All my old JC stuff is in great shape. I actually sewed up a hole in a brand new sweater I received from them last week. I just couldn't be bothered by it to return. Will wear it around the house.....

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  31. OK AS A JCREW FANATIC SINCE MY UNI DAYS AT VIRGINIA TECH...I AM PSYCHED PSYCHED!!!!!!!! I have been living in London for the past 4 years and only get my jcrew fix once a year when i head home to the family for Xmas or buying second hand or NWWT on ebay and have been emailing and begging jcrew to ship to the UK. I have also had my mom and sister ship me stuff ...which is a pain and very expensive for them to do...so i for one am beyond HAPPY!!!!! Thanks Jcrew and keep me posted on this JCA!!!

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  32. i am absolutely DESPERATE to find the sweeping ruffles shirt in a small. everywhere is sold out and its backordered until may...sigh. anyone help me out?

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Dear J.Crew Aficionadas & Aficionados: Please feel free (and encouraged) to share your thoughts and opinions. :) However, please note that this is still a personal blog. So comments that are considered inappropriate (e.g. obscene, racist, homophobic, personal attacks, rude, and just plain mean) will be removed.

And now back to J.Crew! :)