Jun 13, 2017
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J. Crew will reinvent its long-running catalog

Jun 13, 2017

The struggling retail chain will pull back from its print catalog to put more focus on its digital presence. The popular J. Crew Style Guide will have fewer pages and be split into two publications for men’s and women’s apparel.

A look from the 2016 J. Crew Style Guide

J. Crew has gone through extensive changes in the past few months as sales continue to dip, with Mickey Drexler announcing earlier this month that he would step down as the company’s CEO to become its chairman of the board. Jenna Lyons, the longtime creative face of the brand, left the company in April. Reducing its print catalog comes after announcements the brand would be shutting stores and cutting jobs as part of a major overhaul of its strategy.
Particularly during the Jenna Lyons era, the J. Crew Style Guide helped define the brand’s image as aspirational, preppy and cutting edge. Lyons often inserted herself into the catalog, once sparking major debate after a 2011 image showed her son with pink toenails. Lyons was criticized for supposedly blurring gender lines, however the pink Essie nail polish depicted in the catalog sold out.

J. Crew’s announced sales for the brand fell 11 percent to $428.5 million in the first quarter of 2017. In the same quarter, the company’s younger, more affordable brand Madewell saw sales increase 17 percent to $84.7 million.
With Jim Brett succeeding Drexler as CEO following a successful stint at West Elm, some have speculated the company will attempt to make J. Crew more of a lifestyle brand. Fellow retail chain Urban Outfitters has seen its sales increase following an increased focus on “experiential” shopping and more attention to its home décor sector.
J. Crew also announced it would strategically lower prices in an effort to make its pieces more accessible to the average shopper. Taking into account both the J. Crew and Madewell brands, the J. Crew Group saw a 6 percent decrease in overall revenue in the first quarter of 2017. 

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