Mickey Drexler to Exit J.Crew

Tammy Harvey
June 6, 2017

Crew and helped turn that company from a purveyor of safe preppy basics into a retailing powerhouse that helped define American style throughout the Obama years. Drexler, speaking to the Wall Street Journal just last month (paywall), said the company had become too "elitist", giving shoppers the sense that it was a higher-priced brand than it really was.

"This is an exciting time for J.Crew as we continue to make significant changes to position our company for long-term success", Drexler said in a statement on Monday. As of June 5, 2017 the Company operates 278 J.Crew retail stores, 116 Madewell stores, jcrew.com, jcrewfactory.com, the J.Crew catalog, madewell.com, and 178 factory stores (including 39 J.Crew Mercantile stores). Comparable sales at J.Crew fell 6.7% in 2016, on top of an 8.2% drop the year before.

Also in April, J. Crew announced the resignation of Jenna Lyons, its longtime executive creative director. "J.Crew has tremendous opportunity to play a more meaningful role in our lives, and I look forward to leading it through its next phase of growth".

The plan has been in the works for about a year, according to WWD, and Drexler will officially step down in mid-July to be replaced by current West Elm president James Brett.

Drexler, whose 10 percent stake makes him the largest individual investor in J.Crew, will remain chairman of the NY company.

J. Crew ultimately has found itself in an untenable position in the apparel industry that has hurt the likes of Gap and Ralph Lauren (rl)-a slice of apparel that can't compete with the cheap, fast fashions churned out by the likes of H&M and Zara.

Retail guru Millard "Mickey" Drexler has chose to step down as CEO of J. Crew after steering the preppy apparel retailer for over 14 years.

The J.Crew we once knew is slipping away. In 2011, J.Crew stockholders approved a $3 billion private equity buyout.

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