Recently, American multi-brand retailer J.Crew reported news that wasn’t anything new for them. Over the past couple of years, J.Crew has lost a handful of executives causing a change in leadership at every turn. From changing creative directors to CEOs, the latest departure includes two – Jim Brett, former CEO and Vanessa Holden, former Chief Marketing Officer. Just two months ago, the company launched a campaign called ‘New Crew’, so instead of trying to rebrand its image now, J. Crew is anxiously scouting not just a new CMO, but a new CEO as well.
What’s Up with J.Crew?
It is clear that J.Crew has faced issues in the past and is still trying to reconcile them. When the company first began, it was Lyons’ bold and classic J.Crew style that created an image and consumers were fond of that. However, consumers have started to steer away from that preppy bold style and demand for the “classics” to return. After the departure of both Lyons and former CEO Mickey Drexler, the company has seen a lack of interests from customers.
When Brett joined the team, he envisioned an aggressive rebuild of the company. From introducing a loyalty program to lowering prices (J.Crew Mercantile), things still didn’t seem to go the way he thought of. Brett’s idea of “fixing” the company was seen by analysts as a way of “watering down” the products. Consumers complained that the quality of the clothing had gone down, ever since Brett cut prices and introduced J.Crew Mercantile.
In the company’s press release announcing Brett’s departure, Brett mentioned himself and the board were unable to “bridge their beliefs” and evolve the different aspects of the company. With change that the company obviously can’t keep up with, J.Crew might struggle more than ever with a committee of four executives as of now.
Can J.Crew Hold Up?
It’s no surprise that over the past decade, J.Crew has not performed the best. If we look at the fiscal reports of the company’s second quarter for the past three years (2017-2018), the sales decreased 6%, 7% and 5%, respectively.
With the number of changes J.Crew has endured over the years, there are several apparent reasons why sales have gone down. According to Business Insider, J.Crew has lost its brand identity and J.Crew Mercantile could be a factor for that. Since Mercantile offers cheaper options, consumers have become more accustomed to buying J.Crew’s products at that price rather than the original. The same style jacket that is sold in the regular store is half the price at J.Crew Mercantile, hence consumers being pulled towards the product that is cheaper.
More consumers shop at the Mercantile store now because they associate the brand with those prices. Sooner or later, it seems as though the original store will have to come up with a way to its customers back in if they plan to see their sales increase again.
Numbers are an indicator of how a company is doing, but more importantly, if the management is constantly disrupted then this could cause imminent downfall in productivity and morale. It’s clear that the company, but more importantly the employees, have endured the effects of a changing leadership.
J.Crew has been holding up the best they can, but this time they need to figure out what to do and they need to figure it out quick. With four executives currently running the company and frantically looking for someone to fill the spot of CEO, J.Crew needs to find a way to push their company out of this rut and move forward.
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