Friday, May 2, 2014

J.Crew Opens a Cheaper Line: J.Crew Mercantile

"Thanks!" to many of you, including Sabrina, Miriam, and AnneG, who shared the following from J.Crew (check out the Wall Street Journal article here to read more):
J. Crew to Open Chain for Budget-Conscious Shoppers
New Chain to Be Called J. Crew Mercantile
By Suzanne Kapner
May 1, 2014

J.Crew is developing a new format aimed at budget-conscious shoppers, people familiar with the situation said, underscoring the difficulty apparel retailers have had in boosting sales without help from discounts.

The new format is called J.Crew Mercantile, the people said. It will feature merchandise and prices closer to what shoppers would find at J. Crew Factory, the retailer's outlet stores, than what is available in its full-line stores, one of the people said.

A spokeswoman confirmed that the retailer owned the J. Crew Mercantile name.

The move comes after J. Crew turned around its operations by focusing on new styles like men's suits and adding more upscale designs with prices to match. But a lackluster holiday season for retailers that persisted into the first few months of this year has re-emphasized that chains need to offer bargains to lure in shoppers who have retained a frugal streak.

Even J. Crew, which had been known for holding sales infrequently, has been forced to play the game. One recent offer: A $25 coupon to spend in its stores with no strings attached.

J.Crew Mercantile, a name the company trademarked in November, would help the company broaden its reach to discount-seeking shoppers while in theory not hurting the pricing power of its mainline brand.

The new chain would also offer another avenue for growth as Leonard Green & Partners and TPG, the private-equity firms that own J.Crew, prepare it for a potential initial public offering or sale. In January, J. Crew asked Goldman Sachs Group to begin work on a potential IPO, people familiar with the situation said.

Millard Drexler, J. Crew's chief executive, made a similar move in the 1990s when he was CEO of Gap Inc. GPS +1.07% While there, he developed Old Navy, which sells lower priced versions of the T-shirts, jeans and shorts for which Gap has become known

J.Crew currently caters to price conscious shoppers with J. Crew Factory, its outlet store. But Factory stores tend to be located in outlet malls far away from where most people actually live in an attempt by retailers to avoid cannibalizing full-priced sales. Without the "outlet" association, J. Crew Mercantile could open in regional malls closer to urban centers.

The retailer has been scouting locations for the new chain, two of the people said. A few leases have been signed, but no stores have been opened, one of those people said.

J. Crew Mercantile would be the retailer's latest effort to reach different segments of the population. Since becoming CEO in 2003, Mr. Drexler has launched Madewell, a chain that sells more casual clothes aimed at slightly younger customers, and has opened a handful of stand-alone men's stores.

Old Navy eventually overtook Gap in both revenue and number of stores in the U.S. Other efforts to segment the market haven't worked as well. Teen retailers Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. tried to attract older customers with Ruel and Martin + Osa respectively, but both concepts were later closed. Likewise, Abercrombie is closing its Gilly Hicks stores, which sold bras and underwear, and Aéropostale said on Wednesday that it would close 125 of its P.S. stores aimed at children in an attempt to make the chain more profitable.

The mistakes can be expensive, costing tens of millions of dollars to exit leases. Even when they succeed, the new formats can take sales away from the main brand.

At a time when much of retail has become a zero-sum game amid sluggish growth in sales, that may be the lesser evil, however.

"Retailers would rather cannibalize themselves than have someone else do it," said Liz Dunn, an analyst with Macquarie Securities.
This is definitely interesting news! There are some clear pro and cons for me with this move.

Pro: (1) I love to see another option to buy at J.Crew (besides their Factory and Madewell lines). (2) I think it's great to see some more reasonable opening price points. (3) The closet Factory store to me is 2 hours away, so it will be nice to have something closer.

Con: (1) I am not excited about cheaper clothes. I don't purchase too much from Factory because I am cautious of the quality. (Especially since I don't have a store nearby to see the items in-person.) Don't get me wrong, there are definitely some things made better at Factory. However, I do avoid some lines, like footwear and handbags, altogether because I just don't think the price/quality is there.

(2) More importantly, regular J.Crew is already affordable for me... when it goes on sale (and it always does). So why would I switch to J.Crew Mercantile for an item that is cheaper in quality? I am guessing J.Crew will try to limit their sales at regular J.Crew, but I don't know if they really can. (They could if they started the opening price points to be more in line with the product. ...No offense, but a bedazzled sweatshirt should not have an opening price of $130... However, J.Crew likes to increase opening prices not reduce them.)

I know Kate Spade did something similar with the Kate Spade Saturday line. I am not sure how well it is doing. From an informal observation of friends and family, the budget-conscious Kate Spade consumers did not turn to Saturday. They remained with Kate Spade and continued to wait for the Friends and Family sales. (However, the Saturday line did appear to become very popular with high school and college aged students.)

What are your thoughts on this news? Are you excited about J.Crew's newest store concept? Do you think you will shop there?

68 comments:

  1. I'm with you Alexis. I'll withhold final judgement til I see what comes out here, but my issue isn't finding cheaper clothing -- it's finding higher quality clothing! I would love to see J.Crew find a solid middle ground between $900 leather and overpriced $200 polyester.

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    1. I wholeheartedly agree with this. I have some disposable income to spend on clothing, but I'm not willing (or able?) to spend $500+ on designer items, but I will spend J. Crew regular prices *IF* the design and quality is there. That's been the big if lately. I refuse to spend $150 on cheap fabrics, but give me a high quality silk in knockout colors and patterns with a good, well-thought out fit and I'll for sure spend it.

      The thought of lower quality and cut items from J. Crew gives me fits. No! That's not what the customer wants.

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    2. I know! Have they been not reading our declining quality complaints for the last 5 years?

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    3. This was my first thought too. Quality has been declined steadily over the years and prices are either crazy high or sitting in the sale section forever. I rarely buy anything from JCrew anymore....sad, I have bought more since they opened up a factory store that we drive by on the way to the beach regularly:)

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    4. Yes, and I am looking for higher quality clothing too. Price truly does NOT matter. You can find well made items at ALL price points and in any store.

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  2. I wonder if this means there will be two versions of knock-offs for each retail item say 60 days out at factory and 90 days out at the mercantile? Seems like it would make more sense to change the factory name to mercantile and have shops in both outlet centers, local malls and shopping centers. I would be ok with this to provide for a closer factory style location, but I wouldn't want another branch of F21 or lower quality calling itself Jcrew. It could be a lot of extra expense maintaining separate: website, packaging and promotional materials and end up being a financial disaster. Everyday would we get four (or more) different emails from retail, factory, madewell and mercantile? How much lower could quality go without sacrificing the Jcrew name and brand? All things to think about! Because I love the gorgeous fabrics, great style and collection fashion forward pieces, I would still be a retail (on sale or promo) shopper even if Mercantile came to my neighborhood!

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    1. Roxy Turtle and Shopping Cell - I think you're both absolutely right. I am pretty surprised by this. It seems desperate to me. I thought that Factory was supposed to fill this need. Unless Mercantile offers something delightfully unexpected, I plan to stick with J Crew.

      I've said it before, but I think J Crew is showing more and more brand and marketing confusion. Per my post yesterday, I don't see coherence in a shoe season that includes both Sophia Webster and Birkenstock. Per my post a few days ago, I think that that the Barney's/Talbots/Target segmentation isn't working for J Crew, especially if they go more in the Target direction. It is a crowded space.

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    2. I am thinking this is just a new name for Factory? Maybe that is a later announcement. A factory store recently opened in the Plymouth Meeting Mall, a lower-end mall near King of Prussia, so it seems this has been part of their strategy for a little while now. I shop almost all at Factory because the pieces are more in line with my style. I have had 2 bad experiences with pants ripping on the seam after 1-2 wears, but both times the store has exchanged and no problem with the new product, so hoping this is a weird fluke.

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    3. Right now, Gap Inc. has all three stores in one mall, so if JC is opening the JCM line too, that's more options for the consumer.

      I just hope this doesn't mean more poly in the fabrics though.



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    4. In my area I can find Gap & Banana Republic in one mall. Most (not all) Old Navys near me are stand alone & in box box centers; not in a mall with the other 2. There are likely customers who don't even know the Gap brands are affiliated. Whereas J Crew vs J Crew Mercantile would have the SAs explaining over and over and over what the difference is. I feel sorry for those who make a commission. There's even more instability on its way.

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    5. I'm dreading the search keyword shenanigans I'll have to go through to effectively stalk regular JC items on Ebay after this.

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  3. So interesting -- thank you for sharing this Alexis!

    Factory seems to be both an outlet for JC and a place for them to do remixes of popular items, so maybe Mercantile will be a place for original designs. I agree with you, I'm not excited about cheaper quality products. And if Mercantile puts out merchandise with good design, I'd rather have them at the regular JC store with good quality. It'll be interesting...

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  4. I saw this, http://www.businessoffashion.com/2014/05/j-crew-chain-creates-mercantile-brand-ahead-possible-ipo.html, this morning. Thanks for the additional link, so I am interested on what this line will offer. I quite like the Factory line as I think the prices are great and the quality is fine, luckily there is a store very close by too. As well as constant sales so they don't have inventory languishing like the reg store.
    I hope that the new line will have a new style direction .
    Thoughts

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  5. i'm thinking if they see mercantile works then they close down factory, which would cost less...

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  6. Why don't they just address the problems they have with quality/price/sizing, etc. at their regular retail store? It seems a huge waste of money, time and effort on everyone's part to open yet another J. Crew store line. I don't get it and I'm not interested in another cheaper clothes offering. I can buy cheap junk at lots of other stores that make knock off J. Crew items if I want to. J Crew seems to be going the road that so many retailers go......spreading themselves out more and more and trying to please everyone with everything. Result is no one is happy and no one wants their cheap rags . Like a few of you said.....I look for quality classic clothing...come on, Crew...please go back to what you do best!

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    1. I'm with you. There are more than enough discount clothing places for me to choose from...what I need are well-made basics and a few special pieces that won't fall apart after 2 wears. I'll spend $100+ on a silk blouse, but not a polyester one. Same for skirts, jackets, dresses, etc. The reason I've stopped paying full price at J.Crew isn't that I can't afford it, it's because of the pricing games. I know I can get it cheaper if I'm willing to wait another day!

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    2. I agree! Even though I enjoy browsing at H&M, and Zara, I always come out empty handed. I like the designs; its just the clothes are disposable and cheap looking.
      And why is J.Crew using a lot of poly lately? When I see poly, that's something F21, Zara, and H&M would use...

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  7. It sounds kind of lazy of J Crew to deal with their quality issues this way. I would be fine with a re-branding of the Factory since there isn't one close to me and I do sometimes prefer the items there. I used to shop at Old Navy more as an alternative to Gap or Banana Republic but even Old Navy's quality has gone down on some items (plus major shrinkage issues) so I don't care if I'm paying $15 for the tee or $45 for the tee, I still want a certain level of quality for my money.

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    1. I also wonder if the "Mercantile" brand is a way to distance themselves from the whole Jenna theme that seems to have taken over J Crew. Maybe Marissa Webb heading to Banana Republic is giving J Crew pause...I know I'm excited,

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  8. Here's another thing that I don't get. It has not been readily apparent that any turnaround that JC has experienced has been due to the "upscale designs with prices to match". As of this moment the Collection portion of the sale section is the largest, and there are plenty of items at 80% off.

    My experience with J Crew is that sometimes they come up with a huge hit (Collection or not) and it sells quickly and at full price (note the Wonderdot and Floral applique dresses). But they don't seem to learn from or replicate that success. They seem to cling on to things that aren't selling, or jump the shark with trends (bedazzling etc.). It's a real mystery to me.

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    1. Did these items sell quickly or did J.Crew manufacture a small amount in order to seem exclusive? I don't think exclusive was on their mind a decade ago. I wonder why they didn't make more of the eyelet midi skirt.

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    2. Great point St - but at least the items, however few there were, actually sold. Not sure how many of those infernal Collection jeweled jacquard sweatshirts they made - not selling at 80% off (and the matching pants, too). Nothing exclusive about that!

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  9. Rather than have a "cheaper" version of J. Crew, IMHO, it would have made more sense to just have a "higher end" J. Crew shop--this way all the "Collection" items, the bridal items and all those $300.00 sweatshirts and overpriced shoes and other items could be in a J. Crew Specialty Boutique...

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  10. Wow, obviously I am not a "merchant prince," but I do not understand this move. Madewell and Factory aren't enough? I do pick up a few Factory items from time to time, and have been pleasantly surprised at the good quality on some of them. But since most of my JC purchases these days are Old School and Collection bargains picked up on eBay, I think I'm not their target customer any more.

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  11. Funny, the other day I was reading an article about how "disruptive" millennials are to the traditional retail scene. The premise was that shopping is a form of entertainment and that, for millennials, they tend to buy only what they need.

    With the older millennials now graduating from college and ostensibly in the workforce (such as it is right now), I wonder if that premise will hold true when it comes to ventures like this Mercantile line.

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  12. Number one, I think the name is stupid. Number two, as everyone has said - with Factory around, what exactly is the point? I love Factory, I love retail. I buy both as I know what to expect. Why add an unnecessary (IMO) "middle-man" store? I guess I should reserve judgment until it happens but I agree with the above statements - they should concentrate on fixing what is wrong with the regular J Crew before venturing off into... whatever this is supposed to be.

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  13. This sounds like a bad idea. It doesn't make sense that they would have a regular J Crew & a Mercantile in the same mall. So where will the stores go and market will they be reaching? There's a local mall near me with no J Crew and I can't see that mall's core shopper caring about the brand, even at a cheaper price point. I agree w/everyone that they need to address the current issues instead of trying to work "5 different job, mon'."

    Hope someone remembers the Hey Mon skit from In Living Color.

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    1. Ha, Gigi! I actually read your sentence in Damon Wayans' voice. /old

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    2. Gigi, you crack me up. You're like my sense of humor twin :)

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    3. Taylor & Anthro Blogger - Yay! I was feeling really old when I typed about Hey Mon. We're still saying some of those lines in my family 20 years later.

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  14. Interesting. I'm also not sure how to feel about it. I haven't shopped much at any of the stores lately, but that's just because I don't have a lot of money right now. But even then, I'm more likely to find something to love at Madewell than JCrew or Factory. Depending on what Mercanitle offers, I may change my mind.

    I would love to see lower prices on the retail side alltogether, however. I don't mind the fabrics as much as others, but that's because I'm not as careful with my items as I'm sure most of you are. And I'm just too lazy to handwash my items :)

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  15. Also, as a side note, I love KS Saturday. Unless they have a sale, I'm typically unable to afford the clothes that KS offers, but the prices are much better with Saturday, as are the cute patterns.

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  16. Not to be a smart you know what, but how much lower can quality get?

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    1. LOL Anthro Blogger, I thought the same thing. I had a picture in my head of a tee from JCM and shuddered.

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    2. I was thinking of the exact same reply you posted!!

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  17. Frankly, I'm kind of disgusted by this news. A cheaper JC already exists - it's called Target, Loft, Kohls, JCPenney, Old Navy, F21, etc. The designs are the same everywhere. If anybody saw Melissa's "You look familiar..." post this week, there's a knockoff Cleo metallic perforated loafer at Payless for $20! What would be the point of this new store? The same stuff that's available at Target with a JCM label sewn in? I don't think the market needs another fast fashion store filled with cheap crappy clothes.

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    1. Totally agree. What a waste of resources. Blah.

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    2. I just keep thinking about how many more factories in China will be churning out more cheap crappy clothing, more pollution, more depletion of natural resources, etc.... for what?

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  18. I think they'd do better to open mini clearance centers in more locations.

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  19. How much lower can they go? What's left to skimp on? Sounds like over expansion for its own sake, and folks familiar with Gap know where that leads. Or should know.

    I do not view this as a happy development. You could tell, right?

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  20. This development seems strange to me given that Factory items are available online (doesn't get much more convenient than that). Although, there are differences between what you pay at the Factory website and what you pay at the actual outlet (way cheaper in person). Still, I wonder why they don't just focus on the outlet. I also wonder if maybe this is a real estate play. J. Crew stores tend to be located in nicer shopping centers and malls, I'm guessing the new stores might be more of a strip mall location. If millennials are their target audience though, I think they are barking up the wrong tree...

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  21. I have no interest in Factory, as the closest one is more than an hour away, and I hate outlet centers anyway. I won't purchase Factory online because I can't feel the quality and because I hate to pay return shipping. So Mercantile seems like a better fit to me, assuming they are in "normal" malls, on Main Streets, that sort of thing. But what's with this "known for having sales infrequently" nonsense? Everything goes on promo. I can't remember the last item I paid full price for -- lobster sweater in 2005?

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  22. Interesting that the article blames bargain hunters for the move rather than the quality-price balance of J. Crew's clothes. After two years of disgust with JC's quality, I went out at Thanksgiving and bought my first sewing machine in 20 years. Not since Miss Scarlett ripped down the velvet curtains at Tara has a woman felt so empowered by her own sewing prowess. Good bye thigh high minis. Hello, silk tweed pencil and A-line skirts. Goodbye too thin see-through knits, capri pants and even those too low V-necks my short little torso has been locked out of for several years. The fabrics that are available over the Internet are amazing. No more praying for one or two pretty prints a season from the Crew.

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  23. From Bloomberg (growing revenue, hugely declining profits):

    The chain has been working to recover from a cutthroat holiday season, when rivals relied on deep discounts to attract shoppers. Net income tumbled to $5.92 million in J. Crew’s fourth quarter, down from $10.2 million a year earlier. Still, revenue grew almost 7 percent to $686.2 million in the period, which ended Feb. 1.

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    1. Clean house! Like I've always said, if clothes aren't selling, change the designers they have now, starting with Mora.

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    2. Yes, instead of making even more JCrap.

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    3. You are priceless. JCrap.

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    4. I agree. They don't need to create a budget-conscious line, just change the designer. Uninspiring designs even at very low prices won't get people to open up their wallets. A 42% drop in net income would have resulted in heads rolling in other companies. But what do they do? Create another brand, sheesh. No wonder major stockholders want out.

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  24. From The Gloss blog - Here’s Why J.Crew’s New Budget Store Will Ruin Everything

    http://www.thegloss.com/2014/05/02/fashion/j-crew-launching-affordable-budget-store/#ixzz30btMsxti

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  25. I would much rather hear about a design overhaul rather than a cheaper J. Crew store. Gah!

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  26. LOVE this idea if they do it right! I'm sick of buying j crew clothing and other people buying it at deep discount prices like a bargain bin. I don't want to wear a $100 top that someone else got for $20. I hope j crew stops with all the sales and makes a limited number of each piece while keeping quality up. I don't shop factory so i don't care what they do with that. and i hope this new branch creates cute original clothes so discount shoppers can go shop their instead of J crew trying to please high end and low end at the same time. As long as they don't copy j crew's designs! I actually think this could be the perfect solution.

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  27. Shoot....I can't get "REPLY" to work.....I agree with every concern you guys have noted! MORE crappy chemical infused clothing ( I CAN'T even step into Old Navy or H&M due to the overwhelming smell of formaldehyde in the air) being manufactured putting more junk in the air and in the ground when we throw away the crappy garments in the landfills. I like a new garment every once in a while. And I mean that....I'm not an excessive shopper. I've only bought one clothing item this year. A navy trench coat from BR. Classic, well made and forever wearable! I try to find REAL fabrics and clothing that won't turn into a car washing rag after one round in the washer/dryer. It's sad....I never thought the Crew would go down the desperate road that so many other retailers have gone.

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  28. I'll be curious to see what JCrew comes up with in this new concept store. If you look at other retail trifectas (like Gap/Old Navy/Gap Factory; Ann Taylor/Loft/ AT and Loft Factories) and other stores owned by the same company but targeting different markets, it actually doesn't seem that far fetched. It seems like they will be targeting another segment of the market (which will likely intersect some, but not entirely, with the retail J Crew shopper). I do agree with everyone else that J Crew needs to step up its game and address the issues at its core retail store before focusing on expanding into other markets.

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  29. I think this is a classic example of biting off more than you can chew. J.Crew needs to do some serious work on it's main line and not add a cheap, fast fashion store to it's name. If they want people to shell out top dollar, I think they should focus on returning J.Crew to it's former glory. Preppy with an edge, quality clothes with top notch customer service. Stop the never end sale guessing game, edit the line and focus on fit and style. I've got some disposable income to spend, but lately it's been going to Anthro and Boden. I haven't ordered from J.Crew since Christmas and that is a serious record for me. This is one more nail in the J.Crew coffin for me. Good for my wallet, but very sad for a formerly great company. Just my two cents.

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  30. "...chains need to offer bargains to lure in shoppers who have retained a frugal streak." J.Crew is sorely mistaken here. We are not frugal shoppers. We will buy clothes if its quality, style and design warrant the cost. Simply provide such merchandise and we will snap it up at full price.

    Now that Marisa Webb is at Banana Republic, I am looking forward to their new rollout and see if their quality will drop as the design improves. Watch and learn, J. Crew.

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  31. OT....Nate Berkus wed his partner this weekend. He wore a J Crew suit. They are one beautiful couple. Congrats to them !

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  32. I agree with those of you that commented that JC is missing the point. For years, there have been complaints of declining quality - buttons popping off $200 jackets, pencil skirts splitting at the seams, knits stretching out and developing holes - all within the first wear/wash. Instead of fixing these problems, JC continues to pump money into marketing campaign after marketing campaign (from 2008's "If you only knew..." to the "real women" one and the "NYC tastemakers" one and so on) and now this JC Mercantile endeavor. I don't understand why they're so averse to fixing the main problem. Would it really cost more to improve quality than open a whole new line? Or is the point that if the clothes were better quality, we would be buying less frequently? I think that they've decided that it's more profitable to keep us in a cycle of constant buying...but they're sacrificing long-term loyal customers for short-term $.

    ruffles, if you're peeking in now and then I'd love to hear your take on this whole thing. Miss reading your thoughts!

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  33. Hi silver_lining, Alexis, and to all my long-time JCA friends. Once a JCA, always a JCA ... I lurk often :)

    Hard to stay quiet on this news. Everyone has made such good points above and I agree:

    1) The brand has seriously lost focus and the current design team is just not strong enough to change course now . There is too much stuff churning out every month, 1000s of items, it all looks the same, there is no editing and no innovation. Mora is weak. The repetition of what worked last year means that what used be lovely unique prints and designs have become cliched and average. Remember that JCAs are NOT J. Crew's typical customers and they don't make the distinction between retail and factory the way we do - it's all J. Crew and Punk Floral everywhere you look is still Punk Floral.

    2) Mercantile is a market share play. Global retail domination. Factory is doing very well and J. Crew has good topline sales numbers but they've lost profitability due to discounting - and Mickey has learned that retail has changed and um, no, customers are not going back to paying full price. JC is covering the market with yet a third brand to make up in market share what they have lost in margin. Same strategy as Gap and AT. It's going to happen - they've already signed leases in several locations for Mercantile stores. Sadly, the old J. Crew is just not coming back.

    3) The Mercantile price point strategy really does reflect what the market is actually voting for with its dollars. A consumer may say that she loathes fast fashion and wants fewer offerings of better quality and design, but if she is buying every time the brand churns out a few more new arrivals or with every new promo, that is the "cycle of constant buying" that silver_lining noted and it frankly is reinforcing their marketing strategy.

    4) On the pricing issue, again, market forces determine value. So there may be a few customers out there willing to shell out $100 FP for a top, but the vast majority of the sales of that top are going to be at $20 because consumers are smart and sadly, that's what the market says it's worth. Collection items languish forever in FS not because they are overpriced, really. It's because they're not "worth it" despite Jenna's best efforts. Mercantile's mid-range prices will have a better shot at being "worth the money" and their quality level will allow for better margins. So, Collection is what they will show, but Factory and Mercantile will reflect what they really sell.

    My two cents, and I'm signing off now. My best to everyone. As to where I am shopping now, Boden really works for me lately, and I still look for the beautiful, iconic, circa 2007 J. Crew prints and designs that made me love the brand in the first place. Cheers!



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    1. Thanks Ruffles, and as always, you are smart and erudite. Stay well.

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    2. Agreed. Great to see you, ruffles!

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  34. I am in total agreement with the "increase quality" comments because I think they already have a discounted line...it is called the ever-increasing SALE section! And I am waiting on the 50% off so I can buy the puff-sleeve blazer because IT appears to be of quality...

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  35. This makes no sense to me. Then again, I haven't bought anything from J.Crew in months, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. While I wish I had the skills to get out my sewing machine like Mary G. above, instead I have bought the vast majority of my clothes in the past 6 months secondhand. Thrifting mostly, with some eBaying thrown in. It is so satisfying to get a dress for $5 and know that it won't end up in the landfill. Oh, and of course, that it's better quality than what I could get at J.Crew for $200! (Dress I am referring to is Isaac Mizrahi for Target from around 2004, cotton, cotton lining, GORGEOUS! Sadly, J.Crew is just one of many retailers that has thrown quality out the window.)

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  36. I feel like the only way this would make sense would be if J. Crew Factory turned into an actual outlet store, where last-season returns and overstock items are sent at discount prices, like Saks of Fifth, Nordstrom Off the Rack, etc. I always thought it was weird that it wasn't an actual outlet store, but a J.Crew store with an entirely different (though similar) line of clothes. Then, mercantile would be the "mid-range" store with separate clothes.

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