Is J. Crew really back on track?

Mickey Drexler, the celebrated CEO of J. Crew, recently sent an e-mail to the chain’s loyal customers trumpteting the company’s return to its heyday. I questioned (on RetailWire) whether this was a premature move, since in my opinion the company still has work to do:

I’m sure that loyal J. Crew customers would welcome an e-mail from the CEO, but I think it’s going to take more than this to regain their business. It’s an open question whether “my J. Crew is back” (in the SoHo customer’s words).

As regular shoppers for three family members in their 20’s (who were all longtime J. Crew shoppers), I’m seeing progress but not a complete return to the depth of updated, well-made classics that built the store’s reputation. Meanwhile, I’m seeing improvements at J. Crew Mercantile but it’s not clear how its growth will cannibalize the parent chain.

The challenge of inviting your loyal customers back into your store is to make sure you are 100% ready for them.

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