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What's happening to J. Crew?

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 
I've been shopping off and on with J. Crew since about 1990. Back in those days J. Crew was pretty solidly preppy with their line-up of OCBDs, chinos, rugby shirts and the like and all was good.

They did go through their unfortunate neo-grunge period (complete with declining quality) in the late 1990s but thankfully they returned in recent years with better clothing and a more classic style.

Lately, though, they seem to be ditching men's clothes. I can't remember the last catalogue I received where men's clothes took up a mere 50 per cent of the space, stark contrast to the 1990s where men's clothes were regularly 90 per cent of any catalogue. Now, women's clothing takes up the first 90 or so pages and men's clothing is relegated to the last 20 or so.

Has anyone heard that the company is phasing out men's clothing? I'm seriously considering stopping the catalogue, something that has been delivered to my door for 17 straight years.
post #2 of 55
I noticed the same thing yesterday, I was throwing some old magazines out and flipped through the spring catalogue, maybe 5 pages worth of mens stuff. I walked into a store a few weeks ago and the womens stuff looked a lot better than the mens. Could they really get rid of the men's section?
post #3 of 55
If you do a search, there was a post about this earlier in the year. I believe the concensus opinion was that they were emphasizing women's clothing more in specific markets.
post #4 of 55
I commented on this to my girlfriend yesterday. She had the new catalog and I held up the women's section vs. the men's and said "damn, look like 75% of the magazine is womens" and she replied, "well, women shop more" and I believe this is generally true. This isn't just J Crew, every major store that has both genders tends to have a larger women's section and the same is shown in their catalogs.
post #5 of 55
They actually do have a men's version which they sometimes have in their stores, but why they don't send that out I don't know. My guess is that a majority of men are no longer catalogue shoppers, as the internet is a much nicer medium. Might I suggest visiting instead?
post #6 of 55
The men's section at one socal Jcrew is gone completely, the other few that still have them are severly downsized to about 1/4 the store.
post #7 of 55
It just seems like an afterthought, with very little effort or attention. I'm disappointed. I've enjoyed their clothes for a while, and love the merino sweaters they had up until a year or so ago. This fall/winter, they had very few, instead featuring their lackluster cashmere, which pills in about ten minutes and is uncomfortably hot. I'm sure the margins are higher, and they can pretend they're selling luxury.
post #8 of 55
Originally Posted by chorse123 View Post
It just seems like an afterthought, with very little effort or attention.

Yeah, I agree with this. I haven't found anything interesting there in a long time. Seems like the same old same old, and I wasn't crazy about most of it the first time around.

No great loss for me, though. Their shirts are so short they won't stay tucked. I've been thinking about tossing mine out.
post #9 of 55
Is it possible that a larger percentage of men browse and buy online and the company is just adjusting to that by making women the focal point of its catalog? I used to order from JCrew a lot as a kid in the early ninties but I literally haven't looked at a catalog in over a decade. I have, however, browsed the site occasionally, and obviously didn't notice any difference in men/women proportion since I always clicked on the men's section. I know if I were to order from JCrew I'd just do it online instead of over the phone.
post #10 of 55
Wow, didn't realize this. The J.Crew near my home has a decent men's selection, and I got a pair of orange cords for like $10 and 4 or 5 shirts, all for under $130. I wasn't aware they were toning down the men's section this much.

Sad, considering there aren't many other outlets for pseudo-Trads like myself to get our fix.
post #11 of 55
This past weekend I noticed the J Crew store in the San Francisco Center moved from a fairly large and open space (now a Victoria Secret) to a smaller and more cramped space. The men's department was jammed into a small room in the back and was a mess. Barely room to move. Almost looked like the downtown Marshall's! Things on rolling racks. Too bad, as I've procured a few gems from them in the past couple years.

Has anyone been to a Martin + Osa store? It's a pretty nice take on American sportswear. I think they are owned by American Eagle (eghh..) but have some nice solid sweaters, chinos, etc. They also carry stuff like books, music and other "lifestyle" ephemera. Not too bad.
post #12 of 55
I recently got J. Crew's men's-only catalogue. It is thin but it exists. If you think J. Crew's men's selection is small, imagine being limited only to the items that come in tall sizes.
post #13 of 55
Thread Starter 
Well, I emailed J. Crew and this is the response I got:

We sincerely appreciate your taking the time to share your feedback with us regarding our catalog. While there are no plans of eliminating our men's clothing, the fact of the matter is that women's clothing now makes up the vast majority of our sales. This wasn't a plan on our part, but is the turn that the market seems to have taken. Basically, more women started wearing our clothing than men. As a result, we now have to keep more women's items in stock in order to keep up with our customer base. We would love to carry a more extensive men's line and have employed numerous strategies to try to sell more clothing to men, including when we introduced our first all-men's catalog this year. In the end, in order to carry more men's clothing, we need more men to shop with us for their wardrobe (encourage your friends!). We have forwarded your comments to our editorial group for their review.

Well, I guess that confirms our hazy conjecture. I guess I'd better make the call and cancel the catalogue. I think we're seeing the last days of men's clothes at J. Crew despite the fact they say they have no plans to axe the line.
post #14 of 55
Props to J. Crew for being so forthright in their response. Rarely have I seen such a direct reply from a major retailer.
post #15 of 55
I've also noticed that local J Crew stores are expanding space for women's clothing.
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