J Crew uses brands like Alden, Barbour, etc to get people into the store and onto the website to buy the J Crew branded merchandise. They make some profit margin on the third party branded merchandise, but make a higher margin on their own stuff. Guys may walk looking for an Indy boot but end up with an Indy boot, a sweater and a shirt as well.
Not sure if the sale was a mistake or not. In store I know J Crew retailers are hesitant to give discounts on the third party brands when on sale. I've had a store manager offer me a discount on Quoddy, but not Alden. RL also has inconsistency when discounting their cordovan Marlows during their sales (SAs will say Marlows are excluded, but they end up being discounted online, for example)
yes, but j.crew marks all the 3rd party stuff up so I imagine 30% is probably around their cost certainly not at a loss. I've ordered many belstaff jackets from europe the past 2 or 3 years. Even with the sucky exchange it's still cheaper than the j.crew retail price on the same jacket.