Rejoice: J.Crew is Launching a Cheaper Label

Leah Bourne
J.Crew - Presentation - Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2014

Photo: Getty

J.Crew has set the standard among mass chains for its ability to create trends—mixing and matching patterns from florals to stripes to leopard is ubiquitous because of the high fashion chain and its Executive Creative Director Jenna Lyons.

The major complaint by J.Crew shoppers in recent years has had nothing to do with the clothes, but surrounding prices, which seem to many to have risen in recent years as the retailer focused a lot of attention on its high-priced J.Crew Collection, where prices this season range from $250 for an embellished shell to $450 for a silk dress, and up to $2,500 for coats.

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In response, J.Crew CEO Millard “Mickey” Drexler announced earlier this year that the retailer was going to work on better diversifying the price points in J.Crew, which was welcome news to J.Crew’s biggest fans. And now there is more good news on the horizon. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a lower priced J.Crew label, reportedly named J.Crew Mercantile, is in the works. A spokeswoman confirmed to the paper that the retailer owned the J. Crew Mercantile name, alluding that the line will launch soon. Sources even confirmed that the retailer has leased spaces for possible J.Crew Mercantile stores.

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It’s apropos timing for the J.Crew offshoot considering Leonard Green & Partners and TPG, the private-equity firms that own J.Crew, are reportedly preparing to take the company public (for the second time) later this year. The launch also mirrors a move that Drexler made when he was CEO at the Gap when he oversaw the launch of the lower priced Old Navy as another revenue source for the mega-retailer. Interestingly, Old Navy eventually overtook Gap in both revenue and number of stores in the U.S., so the sky really could really be the limit for J.Crew Mercantile.