Tuesday, August 16, 2011

J.Crew in the U.K. {soon. how soon? very soon.}

In the "J.Crew Spreads Its Wings Abroad" post, we learned that J.Crew planned to expand internationally by launching a U.K. online site in late August.

A big "thanks!" to Alexandra, who shared the following news & fantastic tips:
Very big news...my personal shopper at J Crew just told me that they are going to be starting to ship direct to customers in the UK on August 18th! It will be a flat rate of £9.95, which is an incredible deal.

For everyone who lives in the UK and loves J Crew this is amazing news. There was quite a lot of fuss about J Crew starting selling via Net a Porter last year, but the range was and still is very limited, with hardly any shoes or traditional J Crew classics like cashmere.This will allow UK residents to shop direct from the full range for the first time. ...

pass on these tips which I have discovered (the hard way) from six years of getting J Crew parcels sent via a US mail forwarding service.
  1. Remember that you won't pay any US sales tax but you will have to pay UK VAT on all adult items (which is 20%) upon delivery of your parcel.
  2. If the value of the goods in your order is more than US$200, you will be hit by VAT by the UK authorities, PLUS customs import duty levied on the entire total of the goods, shipping and VAT. This can add up to 30 or 40% extra onto the cost of your order.
  3. If you want to buy more than $200 of goods, it almost always makes sense to divide your purchases up into separate orders, each worth $200 or less. You will save far more (by not being liable for customs import duty) than the additional £9.95 shipping fee for each delivery.
On a related note, "thanks!" to so many of you, including everynewday (in this post) as well as Aaron (in this post), who let us know that J.Crew will be offering a flat shipping rate ($9.99 via UPS) for its Canadian customers starting August 18th too.

Well this is super exiting news! I love that J.Crew will be offering a flat shipping rate for their international customers. Perhaps they are considering a similar offer for purchases in the U.S.? Well Aaron was told the following about that prospect: "I specifically asked if there would be a flat fee for the U.S. as well and the answer was no." Ah well!

Also, I am really happy for the U.K. chapter of JCAs getting their own online shopping site. Even though Net-A-Porter offered J.Crew, it suffered from limited selection and higher price points.

Are you excited about J.Crew's online move to the U.K.? Do you like the idea of a flat shipping rate?


  1. This is fantastic news! I get my parents-in-law to bring stuff over when they visit (a few times a year) but this means I now can get it direct!
    It seems this means we can have full access to the US catalogue. This is also fantastic. In the past I've noticed with Gap etc. the range and sizes are limited (ie. no petite!).
    Thanks for the tips on shipping and keeping costs down.
    Flat rate shipping is fantastic. I hope we get to buy at US dollar prices and convert with just the VAT on top.


  2. This is great news. A week or so ago, the opening J. Crew page for those logging in from Europe had a notice that international shipping would soon be available. There was a menu to chose the country and a space in which to place an email address to be notified when shipping would be available.

    About Customs fees, it's to be seen if the shipping will take place from a UK warehouse or from the US. Anthropologie, Gap, and BR, ship from the UK. Land's End and LLBean from both the UK and the US, depending on which website the order is made.

  3. I would hope that the extra charges wouldn't be that high. When Americans order from Boden or ASOS we're not hit with duty or sales tax so I hope J Crew would create a model where people in the UK aren't hit with VAT or duty either. Talk about being an incentive NOT to order! After a while it'd be cheaper to buy a plane ticket to NYC and shop!

  4. I wonder if we will see a new website on August 18. There will be a few changes for international shoppers, including Canadians in a separate now. The current promo runs until August 17 so it just has me thinking...

  5. Can anyone confirm the full US online JCrew catalogue will be available to UK customers? I'm just worried they won't offer Petites or 00 size or we will have a limited range.

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  7. Suzy: My personal shopper said that there will now be an option to ship from the main site to the UK. So that would mean yes to petites.

    Cris: as you might guess the reason that GAP, BR and Anthropologie ship from UK warehouses without customs issues is that they have to have warehouses anyway to supply their "bricks and mortar" retail operations. I think we'll have to wait for a J Crew store to open in London...which could be some time coming, as apparently they think rents are too high over here!

    The big question I have is how returns and exchanges will work....I assume they'll have some kind of UK postal address for those.


  8. Good point, xoxo. *braces self for possible 2008 flashback*

  9. Flat Rate shipping means ordering from the Toronto store or from the US website?

    I really hope I can still order from the US site I shudder at the thought of a new website.

  10. Just curious as to why a retailer offers flat rate shipping internationally while shipping costs are based on value and go up as the value of the order goes up in the U.S.

  11. I'm betting we Canadians will have a separate website to shop from; similar to what BR did last year. I'm curious if we will get all the choices the Americans get and how much more we'll be paying.

    Thankfully the flat shipping will be a bonus and since the good will ship from Canada it'll most likely be quicker.

  12. Hopefully you'll all have a nice flat rate for returns, too. Good luck to J Crew during this transition.

  13. I think JCrew should have shipping membership program like amazon prime. I'd totally pay for that!

  14. Flat rate shipping to Canada? Who cares, I never pay shipping anyway, there is always a code or something available!
    I dread a website designed just for Canada. It will be expensive with a limited range.

  15. Just a heads up for those of you that want to order and have items shipped to the UK. The UK Customs will charge you the 20% VAT on the whole order, including shipping costs, as well as a handling fee (my fee was £8.95). I ordered a jcrew handbag on ebay that was 189.00. I was hit with a £48.00 bill at the post office, which effectively added an additional 40% to the cost. I will not be doing that again. Just be warned, it could be much more expensive than you realize.

  16. As a UK customer I've been waiting for J Crew to be easily available for years. I would also add a cautionary note to the others I've read here about VAT.

    I ordered two cashmere jumpers and a bracelet year using free shipping via a US based address - the total order was about £180. When it arrived in the UK all seemed fine until I received a bill from DHL for £56 for the import duty !

    Be aware that you will be responsible duty/VAT - it can make what seems like a bargain buy an expensive purchase..


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