Friday, October 23, 2009

J.Crew's CEO to Appear on CNBC Today

A big "thanks!" to Liz who let us know that J.Crew's CEO Mickey Drexler is scheduled to appear on CNBC this morning– on the "Squawk Box" at 8AM. After watching his segment, some highlights include:
  • Brings right product to stores & are as creative as ever
  • Have been respecting customers, differentiating from all the sameness, & producing products of up-most quality
  • Always respecting customer on quality & value demands
  • Their mission is value-style product
  • Their model is why do you need all the middle people selling a great brand (so eliminate that & control own distribution)
  • When Mickey took over (7 years ago), he fired 70% of their factories & searched for ones with best fabric, best quality, etc.
  • Mickey believes they have (1) the right fashion, right now, (2) a good design team, & (3) the content of the stores consist of items of "what they are famous for"
  • Constantly evaluate their assortment, in particular those predictable items that evolve (sharpen their edge) like the Minnie pant, cashmere sweaters, or jackets for Women and the Wash Shirts for Men
  • There's a "J.Crew Look" which is a style with no logos
  • Never want to compete on price & can't buy products on sale anywhere else
  • Considers First Lady Michelle Obama wearing J.Crew clothes an "act of God" (then one of the hosts made an inappropriate "joke", which was *not* funny and flustered Mickey Drexler)
This appearance is on the heels of J.Crew's recent buzz concerning it's financial performance. The following article from ABC News (click here) re-caps the good news.

J.Crew Boosts Profit Outlook as Sales Improve
J.Crew raises 3rd-quarter guidance, upbeat about sales; shares jump to 52-week high

By Michelle Chapman

October 22, 2009

Shoppers still have an appetite for fashion during the recession, as evidenced by apparel retailer J.Crew Group Inc., a favorite of first lady Michelle Obama.

The chain significantly boosted its fiscal third-quarter profit forecast Thursday on better-than-expected sales and margins — two components most retailers have struggled with as consumers continue their discretionary spending clampdown.

The company, which has grown in popularity partly because Obama wears the chain's clothes, saw its stock soar $4.41, or 11.7 percent, to $42.15 in midday trading. The shares hit a fresh 52-week high of $42.94 earlier in the session.

J.Crew has been on a surge of late, with its stock up 37 percent over the past three months. The chain has managed well during the recession by keeping a close eye on its inventory levels while continuously rolling out products that appeal to its customers.

With higher sales and margins than anticipated for the third quarter, the retailer pushed its earnings guidance to a range of 54 cents to 59 cents per share. That's a marked improvement from the 30 cents to 33 cents per share forecast issued in August.

J.Crew expects the good times to roll into the fourth quarter, assuming sales and margin trends continue. The retailer now anticipates a mid- to high single-digit increase in sales at stores open at least a year and a low single-digit rise in direct sales for the fourth quarter ending Jan. 30. The company previously forecast a low single-digit increase in both sales at stores open at least a year and direct sales.

Sales at stores open at least a year are a key indicator of retailer performance since they measure growth at existing stores rather than newly opened ones.

Heading into the holiday season — a critical time for most retailers — BMO Capital Markets analyst John Morris is confident that J.Crew will fare well due to its inventory management efforts and favorable product mix. The analyst reaffirmed an "Outperform" rating in a note to clients, saying he has "great confidence in the company's growth potential."


  1. I saw this today. I cannot believe the comment made by Joe (was it Joe?). That's probably why he never does interviews.

    I do think when asked why they are so successful right now he should have just given all the credit to Jenna. :-)

  2. Good morning Hello Gorgeous! I know, what is up with that comment from Joe?!? Totally inappropriate and Mickey Drexler handled it as best as anyone could.

    He probably could have used Jenna Lyons for the interview. When they asked him what styles would be up-coming for next year, he said he couldn't verbally tell you. He said something along the lines of- he just knows it when he sees it. I thought, if only Jenna or Frank were there- they could answer it! :)

  3. I truly appreciate his anti-logo stance. Logos make me want to hurl.

  4. Despite my griping about some of JCrew's prices and styling, the truth is I still buy a lot of their clothes. And although I know BR and AT have better perks for their credit holders (and I do still wish JCrew would consider rolling over reward points and sending more $10 - $20 off coupons to us), the fact remains that I simply prefer JCrew's inventory. So I do see why they're doing well.

  5. What did the host say that was so bad?!

  6. Color me confused! Here's what was said:

    Mickey: M.O. wearing J.Crew was an act of God.

    Other guest: Is she Jewish?

    Mickey: Whoa.

    Huh???? Does anyone get this? What did it mean????? Bizarre.

    p.s. You can watch it for yourself, just follow the link (in the post) to Squawk Box and skip to the end.

  7. (Skip to the 10 minute mark.)

    And the exchange, verbatim, is:

    Mickey: M.O. wearing our clothes was an act of God.

    Ron Baron: Is she Jewish? Is she Jewish?

    Micky: Oh my God. Ron-- I didn't understand that.

    Yeah, me neither, Mickey...

  8. Thank you all for providing that mini-transcript of what occurred on CNBC. Appalling, really.

  9. I didn't know that Drexler was on the board of Apple computer! If I told my sweetheart that, he'd figure out that Mickey Drexler is somehow running my life!

  10. You know, it is pretty brilliant of J. Crew to create a "logo," that is, their whole look, without a logo. As it is, other companies are copying their look.

    As for that comment, what an idiot.

  11. am i the only one who thinks mickey is adorable? it would have been really cool and probably an even more interesting interview if jenna was there.

    i just got my jcrew catalog today and from skimming the looks inside...they DEFINITELY know what they're doing. i try not to buy all my clothes from chain retailers, but jcrew is definitely my go-to for excellent basics and other well-made but affordable, stylish pieces.

  12. JAW.DROPS.

    Cannot BELIEVE the interviewer said that!! Or maybe I can. I'm kind of media-cynical...

    Never thought of it that way, but they do have a "logo without a logo." Which reminds me, out to dinner last night it seemed like EVERY woman around me had on JC!! And sad that I could identify that.

  13. oh mommydearest, don't worry. Out here in the hinterlands, I think I've seen two j. crew items I could clearly identify in the last 4 years! The good part is, there's no logo, so only the fanatics can tell.

  14. Very cool! Thanks for posting the video! I missed this the other day. I think Mickey did pretty well in the interview but would have been great to see Jenna speak about the brand too!

    Interesting how he answered the one question about 'the JCrew Look'. I think most would agree that the JCrew look he's speaking of is no longer ' The JCrew Look'.

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And now back to J.Crew! :)