Tuesday, April 14, 2015

J.Crew Closing Stores

"Thanks!" to See who shared the email (shown above). She mentioned receiving the email on April 12th, the day the store was closing. There was no word or indication it was closing prior to the email being sent.

"Thanks!" also to fancypants505 (in this post) who shared:
I worked for Jcrew and they recently closed our store at the end of January. We were told that they were closing a few more stores but they wouldn't disclose which stores. JCrew has had their ups and downs for many years. They will come back but it may take awhile. I think they got too big for their britches.
"Thanks!" also to JRSConifer (in this post) who shared something semi-related:
... I was chatting with my favorite SA there and told her that I am not sure if I have aged out of J Crew. Even though I am usually dressed head to toe in J Crew everyday from my closet but the designs are just not doing it for me anymore. She mentioned that J Crew had fired a large number of the design staff but that we would not be seeing any of the new creations/designs until the Fall. Has anyone else heard that?
It is disheartening for loyal customers and employees to find their local B&M stores closed- especially without warning. However, J.Crew has been experiencing less than stellar sales (refer to the "Do You Still Heart J.Crew?" post). I am curious how closing stores will help the issues that Mickey Drexler referred to as “missteps in our iconic classics.” Letting go some of the design staff seems like the more appropriate response. It will be interesting to see what comes next from J.Crew...

It is also interesting that J.Crew has slipped so much while J.Crew Factory plans to open 21 more stores in 2015. Madewell is also performing strongly this year. (Madewell opened 54 stores in just the last three years.)


What are your thoughts on J.Crew's store closings? Do you predict more to come? Do you know which locations are closing?

42 comments:

  1. I'm really surprised they are closing the J.Crew at Woodfield. That's disappointing.

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  2. We all know that JC wrote down the value of the company recently due to the reduced value of the stores. That was a good decision, since they are doing better with online sales.

    But I would love more information - are mall stores doing more poorly that street stores? Are stores in one region of the country doing better than others? What about Crewcuts (always empty of customers in my experience)? I've said this before, but I really question JC's judgment about store placement. In Boston there is only one store that carries women's - that's it! All the rest in the region are in suburban malls, which we all know are dying. The Madewell store on Newbury Street is always jammed with customers - wonder why JC hasn't taken note.

    When news of J Crew's struggles first came to light last spring, the CFO at the time said there would be no store closings. Well, times have changed and that guy is gone.

    I'm still pulling for the company, and I still enjoy this blog, but there is going to need to be a pretty big turnaround.

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    1. I think the bigger question is why are the malls dying? Personally, I don't see it - our malls are always quite busy. I wonder if weather plays a part - ours isn't great a lot of the year so indoor malls make sense here. I don't see myself bothering to go to a street store. It would have to be on my route. I like knocking off a few errands per stop and the malls are helpful that way too. I don't want to go to a street store, personally. It's not worth the hassle of finding and paying for parking then walking to the store. If it were in a strip mall, then I might be more inclined. But I prefer the indoor mall locations.

      That said, I'm not sure how the J. Crew stores are doing at our malls, but I think they'd do better if they brought back more of the staples to the stores. They also offer a lot online that isn't offered in stores, so there is an ongoing cycle of buy/try/return, which might make stores seem un-profitable. I hope they won't close our stores (or our malls).

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    2. Definitely agree about bring staples back to the stores! And agreed about the buy/try/return, especially with the sizing issues of late.

      Boston/Cambridge may be outliers, but ours is a walking/subway culture (for people who can afford the real estate), and street stores perform well. BR has their gorgeous flagship store on Newbury Street. Anthro has a huge store in an iconic glass building in Harvard Square. J Crew is an outlier for having only mall stores. This is good for my wallet - certainly I would buy more if there was a convenient store.

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    3. I went to my mall store yesterday to return a number of items will varying degrees of fit. At my mall, many of the tenants left, or moved to smaller spaces, a few years ago when many leases expired and rents went up. I think rental rates are going up in malls overall which may mean its too expensive to keep operating in the space.

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  3. The store in Troy, MI says they are closing for a remodel. Sounded like they would be closed for an extended period of time.

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  4. We have seen this first hand as this blog has slowed done dramatically ( you know we all think Alexis is fab) her efforts here were beyond any other blogger about J Crew...I fear the worse. the end of J cREW.

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    1. Unknown, thank you for the nice words. I agree, this blog has slowed down. Partially because I am not keeping up with it like I once use to, but also the excitement is not as great as it use to be. I don't want to be a "debbie downer" but I use to want entire roll outs and now I am finding only one or two pieces I like. In all fairness, I am finding this is true for most retailers. But J.Crew is my go-to, so I hope they can turn things around.

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    2. I do not feel you have not kept up with the blog. In fact I thank you for being more forward and addressing new issues....like the declining factor of J cREW. you are truly appreciated for the huge amount of work you do. Thank you Alexis....

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  5. Spotted this NY Post article.
    http://nypost.com/2015/04/13/j-crew-is-floundering-and-jenna-lyons-is-to-blame/

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    1. Great piece - thanks for sharing. I love Jenna's style on her but can't pull it off myself. And the blogger's quote about the average J Crew outfit costing $596 is worth noting.

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  6. I think it is indicative of the blind eye those in an ivory tower possess. I can't imagine a better, more dedicated, real world market group than the group of people that read and reply to this blog.For years there have been rumbles of discontent over poor quality, cut corners and un- flattering styling . But, in response, the offerings have gotten worse, not better. In a troubling economy, a consumer is more savvy. Why spend money on a label when one could spend it on quality?

    Anyway Alexis, I thought about writing this weekend, as I glanced at the meager number of replies to your "Visit/visited" J Crew posts. I am sure large numbers of us are still reading and enjoying your posts. So few of us have anything to report. And, in my case, it is not for lack of trying.

    So, I just want to thank you again for continuing to put the time into this blog. I am sure it is more of a struggle as the responses wane, but I still read this daily(sometimes multiple times!) and I am still waiting for that awesome review, or great deal that I used to see all the time. Thank you for all of your hard work!

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    1. Thank you KnitYarns, you are so sweet!!! I feel the same way you do, that I do still appreciate the community that we have here. I am hoping that J.Crew can bring us back to table, so to speak! :)

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  7. I would like to second what KnitYarns said. I'm an original reader (going back to Spring 2008!) but I rarely post any more. This is because my posts would be pretty darn repetitive--either "I had to return my recent purchase because of quality/style/fit/incorrect depiction/wrong item sent" or else "OMG I just scored an eBay find of a top quality Collection item from 2005-2008!"


    Even though I've mostly moved on, JCA will always be "the Mothership" to me. Alexis, I appreciate all that you do and all the virtual acquaintances I've made here. JC has a great ready-made focus group here of smart, savvy women. It's a shame they haven't been able to use what they could learn here.

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    1. Thanks Hexicon! :) I wholeheartedly agree that J.Crew should have been reading the comments from loyal customers here all along. They would have not have endured so many missteps if they listened. When JCAs are asking for lining with wool pants, give them lining with wool pants! ;)

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  8. I agree, I love this blog. I wish there was more postings but totally understand why there is not. Please keep it going Alexis, we all are pulling for J Crew to pull a comeback. And then we will all come back and start posting our delight, great reviews and the like.

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    1. Thanks JRSConifer! :) I also hope that J.Crew gets their act together too. :)

      I think it would be really easy for them to get back to what they do best if they want to. I honestly hope they do too!

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  9. Let me add my voice to those of KnitYarns and Hexicon. Firing a few junior designers isn't going to change things, those people follow directions. Change at the top would help. I'm in a plane with wifi, lucky me, so I spent a lot of time looking back at older posts here.

    The decline and shift isn't new, it happened gradually. First I noted issues with quality and snippy SAs. Then came a great split of opinions on whether Dear Leader was a genius or whether the best thing he sold was his own image. Issues with clothing included fit, size, and the Great Pilling Propaganda War. Does anyone else remember when the JC party line was that Pilling is good, it's a sign of quality! We moved on to questioning the value of sequin shorts with woolly tights ... A condition known as JennaFatigue began to set in.Marissa's departure was a great loss, and very little good came of her replacement by Tom Mora, directly reporting to Jenna. Somewhere in there Jenna had a brief tenure as company president. More quality issues, less attention to detail, more fit issues, and on and on.

    Sadly, the majority of working women are not situated where they can wear couture every day. Often even those with 6 and 7- figure salaries will dress down a bit, whether for practicality or morale... So there just aren't enough women with the disposable income OUT THERE to populate a profitable customer base for amass manufacturer with delusions of grandeur. I wish there were. Much has been said and written of late about the earnings gap. This is a reality and one of its effects is that those of us who aren't compensated with multi-million dollar contracts don't like to find that a $450 jacket is only good for one season.

    I don't want to see j.crew collapse under the collective weight of inflated egos, overblown publicity, synthetic fibers and bad finishing. Truly I dont.

    I once suggested to a poster who complained about a sweater fling apart that she return the defective March directly to Dear Leader, even at the cost of a few dollars in postage. I wish we all had done that when the decline first set in.


    I wish DL would bite the bullet ($) and retire Jenna.

    I'm not going to rant about crazy styling, that speaks for itself.

    Thank you for this forum, Alexis, and for your hard work. I would love to see early reports of a turn-around, please hang in there!

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    1. Well said WFF! I feel the same.

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    2. @wellfedfred,
      Spot-on! From start to finish.

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    3. So true, WFF.

      And may I say, thank you, Alexis for this wonderful JCA blog, and to everyone in the community.

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    4. I would be concerned about who they'd replace Jenna with. It could be a lot worse!

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  10. Extremely well said, all of the comments!
    Alexis it's so true your blog has been an incredible focus group, we are women who have loved the brand! We've been discussing the issues for years, we saw it all coming right here.
    At one time I reviewed JCrew items that I purchased for myself on my blog and then I stopped because I had to return everything...
    I did review a couple of recent items today, I've bought a few things these last months that have been good buys: the Full Spectrum Crystal Necklace, the Collection Wool Boucle Dress in navy(Fall2014), the sparkly navy cashmere cardigan and the Gilded Paisley Collection dress(also Fall 2014).
    Still, my favourite items are from 2005 through 2008...all before the current leadership in design, not a coincidence. Those clothes are great quality, fitted, feminine, colourful, they make me feel good.
    Remember how exciting it was at one time when a new roll-out came out online? How much fun we had discussing everything here... change things up Mickey and bring back the magic!
    Thank you Alexis for this JCA blog, many friendships have formed here :)

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    1. DaniBP, thank you so much!

      Also, spot on about a new roll out. I remember those days well, when I would look forward to them like the catalogs.

      You are also right about 2005-2008. I know I go on about the "good old days" but back then a perfect shirt fit like a perfect shirt. I don't know why quality and fit (not oversize fit) went out of style. Because a good button down in a fitted silhouette never goes out of style.;)

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  12. Greetings JCAs - I lived in the Chicago area for several years and shopped at Woodfield, but do not remember much about it. An earlier comment about Woodfield going under a much needed renovation prompts me to post this article about Gap, which makes some comments early on about successful and not-so-successful malls: http://www.fastcompany.com/3042434/gapquest. It's all location, location, location, and JC's closing at Woodfield may be to circumvent further losses in a location where they do not anticipate much traffic. Just guessin' . . . Cheers-Jennifer

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    1. Interesting article - thanks JenniferD!

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  13. I am not surprised they are opening more factory stores! I spend ore of my J. Crew money there than the actual J. Crew. I like their offerings more and find their prices reasonable from the get-go. I only buy from J. Crew when things are on super sale or are one-time pieces, like the beautifully executed (if a bit oversized) Aran sweater from this winter.

    I feel like a lot of clothing retailers are struggling. J. Crew seems to be hit hardest by it all, but I notice a lot less excitement/sharing/interest in all of the brands overall, Anthropologie, Boden (though I still love it, some of their choices over the past couple of years have made me fear they are trying to become J. Crew of the UK), etc. I don't know if consumers just are spending less on garments or if it is more indicative of consumers spending less overall. I couldn't even hazard a guess, but I feel like I see way more people buying at "discount" stores than "regular" stores, so maybe people just want a good deal, so TJ Maxx and J. Crew Factory will be faring better when people spend less than Nordstrom's and J. Crew. But again, I have no clue what I am talking about here. ;-)

    I still (heart) your blog. You do the posts when you can!!!

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  14. We have so few J Crew stores up here in Canada, I can't see any of them closing anytime soon. But I do find it very interesting that they have not really pushed ahead with opening more locations - right now we have 6 locations in the GTA (+2 Factory) serving a population of some 6 million, and it has been about a year since the last one opened. All the retail stores are in malls that would be considered higher-end, except one shop that is downtown on Millionaire's Mile with Prada and Gucci and Hermes etc.
    Interestingly I was told recently by an SA that they would no longer be stacking discounts, and that the educator's discount would only apply to regularly-priced merchandise. Maybe it has been this way in the US already(?) but it certainly a new policy here. Maybe it was cutting into their profit margins, but it certainly means I will be shopping less.

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    1. We have three stores in Vancouver. The first on Robson st is my fav. Womens and Mens (upstairs) the second one is only a few blocks away in the (nicest) downtown Mall.It is womens only. The third is in West Vancouver (uoscale mall) that is women mens and crewcuts. This is two too many for Vancouver. I find store are only busy at sale time....

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    2. If they change the way the discounts can be applied here in the States, I will be very disappointed. I just bought things at Madewell a little over a week ago and they were still stacking. That is a huge perk for me and I will definitely spend elsewhere if that changes...

      xo Kimi

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  15. Factory doesn't do it for me. I'm not sure why, but I've never purchased anything from Factory. I buy an occasional item from Madewell, JCrew is still my absolute favorite.
    And let me add my love for this blog, too. Thanks so much. Alexis!!!

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    1. I haven't bought from Factory in a long time. Its location is inconvenient, they aren't nearly as good about returns as the retail stores are, and I prefer the retail merchandise. The beginning of the end for me was when they separated the Factory web site from the Retail web site, making them separate entities. You could no longer meet the free shipping minimum by combining retail and factory items. Returns were separate. That's when I stopped checking in at the Factory web site. I used to go there to see new rollouts. I don't think I've done that in over a year. I think it's all just too much now, J. Crew and its satellites are over-saturating the market. They should look at Vera Bradley. They used to be more special before they over-saturated the market. Sometimes less is more, although I don't know if that is true for a company's bottom line. I'm speaking only as a consumer.

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  16. I'm not surprised woodfield j crew is closing- it's never done well. I use to work for j crew a LONG time ago while I was in college and woodfield was doing bad back then. I also have friends who are still employed by j crew and woodfield mall is not an upscale mall. I'm surprised they lasted this long! As i've mentioned before all malls in the US are doing bad because of the economy and changes in consumer habits. I love still love j crew, think the quality is on par with the price point and love the current designs. Retail is hurting across the board right now. Discount stores are doing the best which is a reflection of the economy and it will continue until there is a major change in our government and electing people who actually know how to grow the economy and stop government spending and growth. I find this site useful for certain things and still love this blog, but don't read everyday anymore because it's become a negative place to bash j crew. I'm really curious to know what retailers you all think are doing great current fashion, fit and quality at this pricepoint? J crew is still my favorite for basics and cheap runway replicas that look on par with high end designers. Factory is just repeats of retail and they're doing well, which means people still love the look of j crew but want it at a discount price. I think j crew grew too fast and bought too much inventory. If they only stayed in upscale areas and cut the inventory i think they'll do fine. Just like old navy is the cash cow for gap inc., jcrew factory could do the same.

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    1. I am loving Zara these days....
      nothing wrong with complaining when there is so much too complain about with J Crew.

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    2. I still love J. Crew very much, too.

      I just bought quite a few things at Express, actually. And J. Crew Factory. I love Anthro, but I think that store is way over priced. Much more than J. Crew. I am very loyal to Banana and J. Crew. I also like to buy from small boutiques. I think J. Crew has been better the past couple of months. I have high hopes for the fall. I think they will implement a big change.

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    3. I still love J Crew and my wardrobe is 80% J Crew 15% Lululemon and the remaining 5% a few things from Tory B and Ann Mashburn. I love those last two, excellent quality and great style, but prices are nearly double J Crew's and sales are MUCH less often. Do I crave everything in the roll outs like I did a few years ago? No. But J Crew is still my go to and I buy 10 months out of 12. I'm very excited for Fall. The NY Fashion Week presentation looked fantastic!

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  17. I feel like we're all saying goodbye. (sniff) But I know that's not the case. JCAs are a loyal group.

    There's definitely stubbornness in the company. It's been completely idiotic of them to all but publicly ignore this group, except for the one year anniversary discount for this blog. If you have loyal fans, keep them happy.

    When I shop for work, it's often in a time crunch. As in I need the clothes the next day, period. I used to know the current J. Crew colors and merchandise like the back of my hand and could easily pop in to get a couple of things. Today I didn't even bother going into the store. I knew it would be a waste of time. I went to Macy's instead. I had to go around an entire floor and thru 4 different depts (petites, contemporary, misses, designer), but I found 3 solid pieces plus a new Spanx thing in case I need it. All within an hour, including try-ons. I blog less because of a number of reasons, some of which are mentioned here. I feel a long wind coming on, so I'll cut myself off. lol

    I'll just close by saying it's too bad that Jenna is taking the heaps of blame. But it was called out here long, long ago.

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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! :)