Drexler: J.Crew returns to its 'heritage'

On Sept. 14, a new shipment of merchandise will hit J.Crew stores, a collection that Chairman and CEO Mickey Drexler believes will take the brand back to its heritage.

"I am not going to say it's the be-all, end-all, but I think you will be really pleased with what you see," he told analysts on conference call to discuss second quarter financial results.

J.Crew is refocusing on what Drexler calls "heritage" products such as ballet flats, cashmere, classic cardigans, washed shirts and denim, reported Women's Wear Daily.

It's a return to basics that is sorely needed. The retailer has been struggling to compete, caught somewhere between lower-priced fast-fashion retailers and high-fashion brands. Like Gap, J.Crew is suffering from an over-reliance on private label products and an attempt to take stores more upscale.

The focus will be less on the fashion forward and more on the value-priced classic items that J.Crew had long been known for. It's not a change in direction, but a focus on product and core categories, Drexler said.

J.Crew total revenues decreased 5 percent during the second quarter, led by a 10 percent decline for the J.Crew flagship brand.
J.Crew will also continue to court the value-driven shopper with its new J. Crew Mercantile concept. The first such store opened in Dallas last month and is intended to compete with the growing group of off-price retailers and factory outlets.

The company's Madewell brand is performing well—sales grew 27 percent during the second quarter—and there are plans to add 20 more stores by year-end. Madewell recently expanded its presence inside Nordstrom stores and is now in 30 locations.

For more:
-See this J.Crew financial release
-See this Women's Wear Daily article

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