These photos were taken before the stay-home orders were issued
The retail apocalypse realized by COVID-19 has claimed another victim: News broke on Thursday that J. Crew is planning to file for (likely Chapter 11) bankruptcy–maybe as soon as this weekend–trading an already difficult existence for an impossible one.
For J.Crew stans, it may be helpful to remember that bankruptcies are not (always) a death sentence and liquidation is not a certainty; still, few firms successfully emerge from reorganization, and many end up liquidating even in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy (see: Borders). The details of J. Crew’s bankruptcy plan remain vague, but might include a sizable bankruptcy loan and a debt-for-equity swap.
I want to be optimistic and hope that some store closures and a reduced debt load might sustain J. Crew through the pandemic, but I think the more likely scenario to play out for J. Crew is a relaunch: while its name/brand and customer base/information have value (to the right organization/person, maybe even a lot of value), I doubt its existing stores, employees, debts, or supply chains will survive bankruptcy.
As a consumer, what should you do?
• If you have any J. Crew merchandise credits or gift cards, try to use them ASAP.
• If you purchase anything from J. Crew in the meantime, use credit cards with the friendliest chargeback process; and avoid paying for purchases with a debit card or store card.
• If you are planning to make a return, do so right away and obtain a proof of delivery for the shipment.
Now we wait. And hope for the best. Let’s take a minute to remember J. Crew at its best: