J.Crew Looks To Lower Prices And Offer More Sizes For Turnaround

J. Crew reported a seven percent loss in same-store sales last quarter as compared to eight percent noted last year.

More “entry-level” prices and more plus sizes and other options: that’s reportedly the plan for reversing sales declines at J.Crew, where comparable store sales have dropped for 15 straight quarters.

“We must reflect the America of today, which is significantly more diverse than the America of 20 years ago,” James Brett, the retailer’s CEO, told The Wall Street Journal for an article on Monday (Aug. 27). “You can’t be one price. You can’t be one aesthetic. You can’t be one fit.”

Brett took over just over a year ago, and the retailer’s “404 stores have cleared out inventory left over from his predecessor, in time for Brett to give the brand a makeover,” the report said.

The company went private in 2011 and has about $1.7 billion worth of debt. That debt load and “a consumer shift toward fast fashion and niche brands could be insurmountable,” according to the paper, citing Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail. “Even with some of the innovative changes, they are running up on a down-moving escalator,” he said.

The new pricing strategy is reflected in what J.Crew charges for its “classic” T-shirts, the report said — $14.50 apiece, compared with $29.50 last year. “You have to have a competitive T-shirt,” Brett said. “If you lose them on the basics, then they’re not shopping you that often.”

Earlier this year, J.Crew announced a partnership with WeWork. As part of the program, WeWork locations housed pop-up shops that sold items from J.Crew’s spring collection and offered discounts to WeWork members. A portion of the sales from the shops went to local charities.