After years of selling difficulties and multiple revitalization attempts, J.Crew has decided to turn again. On Friday, November 29, the brand announced in a memo that they would discontinue two of their clothing collections, Mercantile and Nevereven, the latter of which had only been released 16 days earlier.
Mercantile is now the only brand of J.Crew currently on sale at Amazon, and its closure is dimming the relationship between the fashion brand and the online retailer.
J.Crew CEO Jim Brett concluded a deal with Amazon in September to sell Mercantile products on the site after a partnership was avoided. Perhaps because of fears that Amazon would use sales data to bring cheaper versions of their products to the marketplace to discourage shoppers from doing business. He also aimed to launch other, more affordable brands under the J.Crew umbrella, but a memo that was undone was: "We believe the J.Crew label offers a 'good' price category. " Brett, previously at West Elm, began directing J.Crew into a more profitable direction ̵
From the outside, there seem to be no hard feelings between Brett and J.Crew. On November 19, Brett wrote in a post on LinkedIn that he was grateful to the "incredible team," encouraging readers to buy the holiday collection, and said, "The differences that led to my departure were between a very small group He also sought to set the record for his goals for Mercantile:
It's not about diluted product and mass merchandising – a point that is in several articles were misrepresented and contributions.You find reduced prices in the brand J Crew Mercantile.You see, it was never a matter of cheapening the core brand J Crew, it was about introducing Mercantile products that are accessible to a wider circle of customers
From now on, the responsibilities of the CEO will be transferred to four executives of J.Crew, which is likely to be a further revision of the company in which the constant change appears as a new normality.
Following a stylistic revision this fall, J.Crew's aesthetic resembles that of its more successful sister brand, Madewell, a change that had the explicit purpose of reaching out to as many people as possible while blurring the J.Crew identity. What was once the culmination of the New England preparation (and later a flashy paisette for the day provided by former Creative Director Jenna Lyons) now differs from other American casual brands like the Gap.
The brand says in its memo that it focuses on "J.Crew Returns [ing] to Profitable Growth" by expanding its outlet business, J.Crew Factory, with currently 175 stores. In all likelihood, these messages signal another slip-up in the slow and steady case of J.Crew.