*eh, nice outfit?
"Thanks!" to Shopalot (in this post) who gave us a heads up about J.Crew's most recent earnings report. The following from Racked (click here to read in its entirety) sums up their current situation:
J.Crew's Suffering Women's Business Is Costing It Millions"Thanks!" to several JCAs (in this post), who came up some very insightful feedback on J.Crew's current situation. The ones that really resonated with me included the following:
by Erika Adams
December 5, 2014
After posting a dismal earnings report yesterday, J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler sat down with WWD to explain how the company went from a net income of $35.4 million to a reported loss of $607.8 million in the span of one year.
In particular, women's apparel and accessories sales have been hit hard. Drexler reasons that a widespread downturn in apparel sales across the industry was partially to blame, but he's not above accepting that the company's womenswear is doing terrible right now. "We've had a very tough year and I, along with the team, own this," Drexler says. "We saw a significant slowdown in our women's business. We own that even more. In that regard, we need to improve."
In the future, those improvements may include dipping into apparel categories that Drexler previously said the company wouldn't touch, like athleisure. In regard to that specifically, Drexler says: "We are constantly evaluating percentages and the investments we make by category." In other words, it's no longer off limits.
While J.Crew's women's business is suffering, Madewell posted a 32% revenue gain, J.Crew's men's business hasn't declined, and Drexler is confident in the inventory currently in stores as opposed to six months ago. While Drexler maintains that J.Crew is in a difficult position for now, he says that the women's sector has survived low sales in the past and will continue to do so. "I don't like it," Drexler says. "It's never any fun. When it seems worse, it usually gets better. That being said, we all have a job to do. We are going to fight the fight and do a better job."
JSR (in this post) mentions:
My list of what needs to be done at corporate:Blakemdjohns (in this post) mentions:
1. CHANGE your women's head designer.
2. Bring colors back.
3. No drop shoulders.
4. The oversized coats..too many that are ill fitting.
5. Bring back prints.
6. Stop making poly shirts.
7. Make pretty dresses with interesting cuts and designs. Not the straight sack kind. ...
My thoughts are: (1) there's way too much inventory. Instead of doing 6 similar droopy, oversized sweaters, do *one* really nice fitting sweater and do it well; (2) Quality. People will pay for quality. No more synthetics, no more seams that fall apart. No more buttons that are cheap and crack and/or fall off; (3) Stop trying to do all. the. trends. Leave the trendy stuff to the fast fashion retailers. Zippers, and bedazzled everything is just silly. Going back to number one, if you're going to do trends, so *one* thing and do it right. I don't know who is approving these designs, but there's so much ill, fitting and poor quality garbage. Bring back well-fitting, high-quality classic items in gorgeous colors and prints. (Also, going back to number one, you don't have to make *everything* in a print).Cousy (in this post) mentions:
...But here's the thing I find confusing. J Crew produced some really nice items this season that sold out lightning fast - the paisley shirtdress, the elephant parade shoes, the cocoon coat in the gorgeous blue color, the #2 pencil in heather chartreuse - and there are many more that I don't remember. So why aren't they taking cues from the things that are selling well (color, print, structure etc.)? The offerings of this fall seem almost willful in their defiance of what customers want to buy. Drab, cheap-looking, common. Every time I see the ugly glen plaid dress or the hideous houndstooth dress with the black side panels I want to have a stiff drink and go to bed. I never thought J Crew would stoop so low.Personally, I am not too surprised that there was a slowdown in women's apparel and accessories. Why? Take a good look at the sale section. The sale page is overflowing with items that are not moving, no matter what the additional percent off might be.
But maybe this is good news - have the horrendous sales numbers made them realize that they have hit bottom? I think Mickey and gang have it in them to recover and my fingers are crossed that they will.
For many of the reasons listed above by fellow JCAs, I have found myself less and less excited with J.Crew's rollout of new arrivals. Yes, there is still a piece or two that catches my eye (hello Chateau Parka!) However, I use to be excited about the whole roll-out. While I am at it, I use to be excited about getting the catalog in the mail. Now, I don't care if I save it or not.
One of main issues I have this season is poor fit. Everything is boxy and over-sized. For example, I am going down two whole sizes for the Chateau Parka. Most of the online reviewers had to do the same. Why, oh why, is it so huge to begin with???
What do I think J.Crew needs to do:
- Get back to styling. Learn how to style the way you want your actual customers to wear it. Not the way your ultra-cool-Fashionista-industry-types (you know who I am talking about!) wear it. They can get away with "fashion forward" looks. The college graduate, corporate executive, and everything in-between can not get away with it in every day life. Lately, real life bloggers are rocking this better than J.Crew. Also, fire your current stylists. Really.
- Quality. Enough said, right? Make sure we don't have to dry clean a cotton tee shirt. For real.
- Fit. The items that stand the test of time are ones that look like they were tailored for the body. There is a reason the Bella is so well remembered. It is tailored and darted in a way to emphasize the benefits of a woman's body.
- Colors. This use to be one of their strengths. Get back to offering rich hues. Plus, offer them during the right season. Where are all the reds, greens, and bright colors for the Holiday roll-out?
- Prints. The cutesy prints are okay for a piece or two, but customers do not need any more of them. However stick to offering more classic prints and plaids that you know customers want (hello Black Watch plaid!)
- Pricing. Why not start with reasonable price point of x, instead of offering a higher price point of y with an additional 25-30% off promo. It just doesn't make sense and it turns customers off. (I just rather wait for it on sale, because I know it will go on sale.)
So I hope J.Crew takes to heart the feedback listed above and throughout the blog. I hope they can turn things around, because I do very much love them!
What are your thoughts on J.Crew's recent earnings? Do you find it suprising or not? What would you recommend J.Crew take action on (if anything)?