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What's happening to J. Crew? - Page 2

post #16 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday View Post
Props to J. Crew for being so forthright in their response. Rarely have I seen such a direct reply from a major retailer.

+1

It would be fun and interesting to hear a continued discussion:

Where do you see your customers going instead? Abercrombie, Gap, Department Stores, Higher End?

For my taste/money, I think they need to go higher end. If I saw things comparable to the shorts/kakhis I see from Mason's, or the sport shirts I get form Tailorbyrd, rugger, robert talbott, etc. I would be more interested.

But the truth might be they are keeping their stuff too high end, and they need the mall-store customers and should lower their prices to steal business from A&F and Gap.

My gut feeling is that women are more likely to want quantity over quality because their fashions change more often.

What difference do you see in men's / women's trends recently? Are you keeping the women's line more current?
post #17 of 55
there is more profit in womens clothes.
post #18 of 55
That's the type of reply that you get from a bored employee that probably was both surprised and happy to have actually gotten a letter. I do like it when they do go out of their way like that to respond though.

I think a big reason for the success of their women's clothing lately is that they've styled much of it off clothes that Audrey Hepburn would have worn, such as the "little black dress" which has been popular ever since she made it famous. They've done nothing iconic with their men's line however, and over half of it is the same stuff that you can find in other low-tier retailers such as BR or A&F.
post #19 of 55
There was actually an article about J. Crew in Time of late. I'm pretty sure that they're getting rid of the stuff that isn't selling for men, and banking on the staples that do sell.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/ar...599694,00.html
post #20 of 55
Men's clothes are typically more timeless and consist of staples like button down shirts, khakis, various sweaters, etc that don't really change much season to season. Women's styles vary much more season to season especially with shoes and dresses. I went to J Crew last week looking for some cheap tailored polos for a Florida vacation and I had to wade past the mob of women raiding the 10 bins of sandals on sale to get to my little men's corner in the back where there were maybe 4 guys, 3 of which were probably just spouse tagalongs.
post #21 of 55
This is all a conspiracy to get men to start wearing womens clothing.
post #22 of 55
Too bad about J.Crew's men catalog diminishing (disappearing?). For the twenty-something college student/young professional looking for business-casual wear, I thought J.Crew had its competitors beat (namely Banana Republic). I figure it's a sign of the times - at least where I live, the Americana-prep look that J.Crew is famous for is out, replaced by striped shirts and square toe shoes.
post #23 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by robin View Post
That's the type of reply that you get from a bored employee that probably was both surprised and happy to have actually gotten a letter. I do like it when they do go out of their way like that to respond though.
I've received some amusingly good customer service from JCrew in the past: My girlfriend had just ordered a bridesmaids' dress and I was shopping for a tie to wear to the wedding. Just for something to do I emailed JCrew and asked what ties would go and received a very personal response discussing the customer service rep's favourites.
post #24 of 55
I'd just like to make one quick point here: When a 50 page catalogue arrives in my mail box and the first 40 pages are filled with pictures of attractive women, I don't complain.
post #25 of 55
What is the quality of the women's clothing these days? I just ordered an ivory plaza coat for my wife ($89 NWT, supposedly $298 retail) -- is the J.Crew of today, in general, better than BR quality with workmanship and lifespan?
post #26 of 55
Overall, I'd say BR offers better quality than J. Crew, though J. Crew tends to be more consistent.
post #27 of 55
I'm sort of split on the quality issue. I have a lot of stuff from J. Crew that is better than a BR counterpart -- a v-neck pima cotton sweater is an example. The one from J. Crew has held up beautifully, has a rich color, and has kept its shape. I also think the J. Crew shirting fabrics are much nicer than BRs, and they are almost always single needle stitched.

On the women's side, I think that it varies. Overall, though, I think that you can find pieces from both stores that are actually good quality for the price point. A lot of people will rag on "mall stores" such as BR and J. Crew. But, particularly for women, I don't see much quality difference between the stores and overpriced designer labels such as Theory. The differences are more in the cuts.
post #28 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by HalfCanvas View Post
I'm sort of split on the quality issue. I have a lot of stuff from J. Crew that is better than a BR counterpart -- a v-neck pima cotton sweater is an example. The one from J. Crew has held up beautifully, has a rich color, and has kept its shape. I also think the J. Crew shirting fabrics are much nicer than BRs, and they are almost always single needle stitched.

Interesting -- we split on the shirts. I find the J. Crew ones cut too short, and think they generally hold up poorly to repeated washing. They've started getting around the latter problem by having most of their stuff come pre-worn/rumpled. No thanks.

BR, on the other hand, mixes shoddy shirts with surprisingly nice ones. It's a crap shoot.
post #29 of 55
Yep - J Crew now sells more women's clothing than men's. But management isn't pleased with the results of their women's-only stores and plans on incorporating men's offerings in all but the smallest of their new stores. The company dropped their men's suiting offering but offers plenty of casual-looking sport coats in addition to their shirts, sweaters, trousers, shorts, and accessories. In general, I'm impressed by the improvement in garment quality over the past few years - a period during which Banana Republic quality has nose-dived.
post #30 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoRon View Post
+1

It would be fun and interesting to hear a continued discussion:

Where do you see your customers going instead? Abercrombie, Gap, Department Stores, Higher End?

For my taste/money, I think they need to go higher end. If I saw things comparable to the shorts/kakhis I see from Mason's, or the sport shirts I get form Tailorbyrd, rugger, robert talbott, etc. I would be more interested.

But the truth might be they are keeping their stuff too high end, and they need the mall-store customers and should lower their prices to steal business from A&F and Gap.

My gut feeling is that women are more likely to want quantity over quality because their fashions change more often.

What difference do you see in men's / women's trends recently? Are you keeping the women's line more current?

The thing of it is, at least from what I've seen, the clothing line offered by J Crew is somewhat unique in its price range. The basic concept (at least in recent years) is trad/ivy/preppy (or whatever) style, with a primary focus on casual clothing, but with some dress clothing thrown in as well. This is not duplicated by Gap (whose concept seems to be "trendy" clothing aimed at high school and college aged people), A&F (same as Gap but 3 times more expensive and 100 times more annoying), or BR (which seems to target young professionals with business and casual clothing).

While I'm sure there's some customer cross-over among these stores (I imagine the khakis don't differ that much from one to the other, for example), you're not going to get the J Crew look at BR or A&F. Thus, perhaps men are simply gravitating away from the J Crew look. I don't have enough experience with actual J Crew clothing to comment on quality.
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