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J.Crew Flounders While Madewell Thrives, What Will Become Of This Duo?

“J.Crew has lost sight of its target customer and seemingly does not have a high-level strategy in place, but it’s trying to make design decisions that are one-off and may only help in the short term. They’ve lost their brand. If someone asked me what J. Crew stood for. I would have no idea what to say. And that is their downfall in the ever-evolving, ever-saturated world of fashion and retail.”

Following the news of Gap, Inc. spinning off Old Navy into an independent company due to the latter’s success, some believe that the situation may foretell the fate of J.Crew and its sister brand Madewell. Featured in the Glossy+ newsletter, Vivaldi Senior Consultant Jenifer Ekstein shares insights into how Madewell, a subsidiary of J.Crew, has been able to flourish in the midst of J.Crew’s declining sales over the past four years.

Jen points out that a major factor leading to Madewell’s soaring sales is its retail strategy. “Madewell has a very clear target they go after, and they have created a brand that’s aspirational and brings you to a place you want to be,” Jen observes, “While J.Crew has tried to grasp onto what they were back in their heyday, without considering their customer, Madewell has been consistent and focused on who their customer is and what they want.”

Interestingly, J.Crew is trying to capitalize on the success of its sister brand by redesigning much of the interior of its stores to resemble Madewell’s modern aesthetic. A number of J.Crew stores in New York have also begun selling Madewell products, attempting to capture some customers who come in looking for Madewell clothing. However, much of J.Crew’s current strategy seems to only solve for problems in the short term. Will Madewell soon be following Old Navy’s footsteps?

 

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