J. Crew has been struggling to turn business around after two years of plunging sales.
In the most recent quarter, same-store sales fell 8% following a decrease of 11% in the third quarter of last year.
The company has been trying to focus on apparel basics to lure customers back to stores following a series of fashion misses.
It has also axed its popular bridal line and recently launched an athleisure line with New Balance.
But some analysts aren’t optimistic that the company can recover.
“I don’t think they know how to fix J. Crew,” Carla Casella, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co, told Bloomberg. “They were just living on the past strength of their brand.”
We visited J. Crew’s website and found some glaring fashion misses and deep discounts that make a turnaround seem less and less likely.
Many retailers are advertising deep discounts in the wake of the Christmas holiday.
But few are offering discounts as steep as J. Crew, which was advertising a 50%-off promotion this week.
We found tons of items with even deeper price cuts, however, including this dress that was originally priced at $138 and is now selling for just $19.50 with all discounts and promotions applied.
In fact, full-priced merchandise is hard to find on J. Crew’s website these days. The dress section of the site features just 16 full-priced dresses. Meanwhile the sale section features more than 55 dresses.
The massive discounts are a sign that the retailer is having trouble clearing inventory — meaning it ordered too much of one style, and people aren’t buying it.
Judging by some of the styles we came across, it’s no surprise that J. Crew is having trouble clearing inventory.
For example, the hot pink faux fir on this otherwise basic winter coat is a confusing choice for a brand targeting professional women. As one customer wrote in the reviews of the coat, “The pop of pink faux fur is fun in the snow, but I usually don’t wear it so I don’t feel like a 13-year-old at work.”
In another bizarre twist on a classic item, we found this blazer featuring a bright, floral, summery pattern in the dead of winter — and at an original cost of nearly $600.
That wasn’t the only summery pattern we found.
Like down coats and blazers, collared shirts are a cornerstone of the preppy wardrobe that J. Crew’s roots were founded on. But this jewel-embellished version appears to be too bizarre for most customers, judging by the fact that the price was dropped to $74.50 from $248.
We also found that J. Crew made some odd style choices for its models. This pajama jumpsuit seems impractical for bathroom trips and we’re utterly confused as to why the company styled it with dressy flats and a blazer for the website.
Overall, it seems like J. Crew is still struggling to return to regain its fashion sense in the midst of falling sales.