J. Crew Will Launch Its Own Old Navy-ish Discount Brand

Image courtesy of (Michael Daddino)

About twenty years ago, Gap Inc. started an interesting experiment: they opened some outlet-ish stores that sold clothes that might not be out of place in a Gap store, but were lower quality and at lower price points. The brand that I first encountered in a Gap outlet store in 1994 is now very familiar to consumers: Old Navy actually outsells its sibling Gap Inc. brands.

J. Crew isn’t doing so well right now, and one strategy that’s working so far is to pursue customers who are wealthier, which is the reason why its ridiculous Madewell brand exists. For customers who aren’t interested in standard J. Crew product lines or $548 distressed denim overalls, the company plans to open stores called J. Crew Mercantile. The stores will effectively be a J. Crew outlet store in your local strip mall, or maybe an enclosed mall.

Outlets, as you may know, have their own product lines that are on-brand but not the same items for sale in the company’s retail stores. The first Mercantile store will be in Dallas, and will open later this month. The company plans to open more, but isn’t ready to announce where those stores will be or when they will open.

J. Crew Debuts Value-Focused Mercantile Brand to Spark Growth [Bloomberg News]

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