Just what is going on at J.Crew?!
After my last rant, I became convinced that Mickey Drexler was setting up the pieces to retake the reins. Then news broke a few days ago that the man has suddenly decided to “retire.” Couldn’t he have retired a few months earlier? Before he (purportedly) drove Jim Brett out, with such ferocity that no replacement had even been considered.
Whatever appearance of calm that J.Crew might be projecting is a facade. Their ship doesn’t have anyone steering it right now (where can I submit my résumé??) and sure it could drift at sea for a while and let the waves carry it where they may, but collision (another economic downturn) or rough weather (changing retail environment) will inevitably sink it.
Who’s thinking about the ten thousand J.Crew employees who rely on the company to provide a steady paycheck? The frequent turnover at the top has (probably) already prompted talent in the company to jump ship. (I am running with this metaphor because it seems an apt one, just read the Glassdoor reviews.)
If Drexler’s retirement is a condition for Brett’s return, I am willing to maintain a flicker of hope. But if his retirement is due to yet more infighting, then any J.Crew employee who hasn’t already explored their options really ought to.
But even if Brett were to return, with the number of store closures announced or implemented, J.Crew seems (or seemed, who knows anymore) intent on diverting all sales to its online channel, which I don’t fault, but it might consider onboarding “experiential” retail specialists and try to revitalize existing stores as J. Crew can’t close stores as quickly as underperforming ones bleed dry any profits. The future of retail, if you buy into the new gospel, is omnichannel.
While the extra 60%/70% off sale that J. Crew has been running over the last few weeks is curious, I won’t complain, because who can resist these lace pants now that they are ~75% off with the current discount. But I do wonder: is the heavy discounting a strategy to liquidate older designs to make room for new concepts; or has revenue declined so much that J. Crew is forced to run a fire sale to embellish the top line?
In other sale news:
♥ Victoria’s Secret‘s semi-annual sale has been improved: there are further discounts and a few restocks. I’d recommend checking out the panties section as there are quite a few cute styles in the mix.
♥ Saks Fifth Avenue is running a gift card event until 01/24/19, and beauty is eligible: use code JAN2019 to earn up to $700 in gift cards. There is a pretty long list of designer exclusions as usual, but this type of promotion has always been glitchy, so you might try adding items-of-interest (from an excluded designer) to your cart and applying the code. (For example, Saint Laurent is on the list of exclusions, but some bags count toward the eligible total.) Lastly, all Burberry styles are included, for those of you in the market for a new bag or coat.