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J. Crew has been plotting its U.K. expansion for a while. The company launched a U.K. Web site in 2011, and later this year it plans to open its first store in London. But the Sunday Times newspaper discovered something curious about the British version of J. Crew: the same clothes are offered at prices much higher than at the U.S. J. Crew. Around 40% higher, on average.
A women's Collection cashmere button-back sweater costing $259.12 (£169.80) including state sales tax on the US website will cost British customers 40% more, at £238.25 [$364.47]. There is a similar mark-up on a men's Ludlow club blazer costing $462.72 (£303.22) in America but £423.57 [$647.98] for British shoppers.
If you browse the J. Crew Web site with the country set to the United Kingdom, you can see this price difference for yourself.
In men's wear:
And in all of the other categories and items we sampled at random this morning. Longtime customers have been grumbling more and more about J. Crew's steady upward price creep — just imagine having to pay nearly double for the same goods. Why is J. Crew charging U.K. customers such a premium? Is it taxes? Currency fluctuations? Greater distribution costs or labor costs in the U.K.? Just because they can? We don't know. Maybe a housewife needs to write a letter about it and we'll get some answers.
— Jenna Sauers
· UK Buyers Pay 40% More For J. Crew's US Fashions [Sunday Times]
· Mickey Drexler Says J. Crew Styling Has 'Strayed Too Far' [Racked]
· J Crew Feels The Pain of Lower-Priced Competition [Racked]