Maybe we shouldn’t count J.Crew out just yet. According to the Wall Street Journal, the struggling, debt-riddled label is undergoing an aggressive rebranding under the guidance of new CEO James Brett, and it’s kinda, sorta working.
“We must reflect the America of today, which is significantly more diverse than the America of 20 years ago,” Brett told the Journal. “You can’t be one price. You can’t be one aesthetic. You can’t be one fit.”
While, arguably, the America of today is absolutely as diverse as the America of 20 years ago, Brett’s rhetoric seems to be working; for the first time in four years, J.Crew posted a year-over-year gain in Q2 (it was only 1 percent, but baby steps).
Per the Journal: “[Brett’s] strategy is to expand J.Crew’s assortment with more entry-level prices, as well as plus sizes and more fit options… He also will sell the clothes at more retailers in a bid to reach shoppers across the globe,” those retailers include John Lewis, Hudson’s Bay and ASOS.
Despite the recent good(-ish) news, the story notes that “the company is carrying about $1.7 billion of debt,” and even with Q2’s modest gain and Madewell’s unmitigated success, they still operated at a $6.1 million loss last quarter.
“The company’s debt load and a consumer shift toward fast fashion and niche brands could be insurmountable,” one analyst told the Journal. “Even with some of the innovative changes, they are running up on a down-moving escalator.”
You can read more about it at The Wall Street Journal.