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Kate Spade Projected To Be Bigger Than J.Crew

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A look from Kate Spade's new Saturday line, left, and J.Crew's current spring line, right.
A look from Kate Spade's new Saturday line, left, and J.Crew's current spring line, right.

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Kate Spade is celebrating its 20th birthday by engaging in some friendly(ish) retail competition. CEO Craig Leavitt is predicting a giant increase in revenues in the next four years, tossing out a $2 billion projection at an investors meeting on Friday, WWD reports. Naturally, analysts are now draw comparisons to that other quirky prep brand.

"It seems like it could be a bigger opportunity than J.Crew," Corinna Freedman, an analyst from Wedbush Securities, told WWD. "They've done a great job at positioning and marketing the brand. You can get tired of shopping at J. Crew and all your usual haunts. It's the new kid on the block."

Though the two brands do share a quirky interpretation of prep style and a well-documented love of bright colors, there are a couple distinct differences. J.Crew's laid-back styling sets the brand apart, as does its whole-hearted embrace of menswear and workwear. The J.Crew girl would just as easily throw on a gingham buttondown and a fedora as she would don a pair of pink tights and a red stadium coat. The Kate Spade girl, on the other hand, is more polished. It's hard to imagine her leaving the house with a messy ponytail or an untucked blouse.

With J.Crew's accessible attitude making it a go-to for both dress-up and dress-down occasions, it would seem like a tough brand to beat. But WWD is pointing out Kate Spade's expansion into home goods and their strong presence internationally as game changers. "I think they have a bigger runway," Freedman told the trade daily.

WWD doesn't mention the upcoming launch of Kate Spade's more affordable, casual Saturday brand, which is scheduled to debut online this month. The line is heavy on classic silhouettes in fashion-forward prints, pops of color, shrunken blazers—very similar to J.Crew, actually—but at prices about 50% less than what Kate Spade items go for. Or, in other words, very comparable to J.Crew prices.

If Kate Spade has their sites set on J.Crew's market, seems like they're getting themselves well-positioned for battle.
· Craig Leavitt Sees $4B Future for Kate Spade [WWD]
· Kate Spade's New Lower Priced Line Looks a Lot Like J.Crew, No? [Racked]
· Jenna Lyons Owns 289 Pairs of Shoes and Other Things We Learned [Racked]