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J.Crew is launching a new low-priced concept called J.Crew Mercantile according to an anonymous source. The Wall Street Journal reports that the new store is intended to combat J.Crew's heavy reliance on sales and discounts and return it to full-price equilibrium. (Also, with the IPO on the horizon, more growth strategies are welcome.)
Prices will be on par with J.Crew Factory but Mercantile shouldn't be confused with the Factory brand. It won't be an outlet store populating outlet malls, but instead will open in suburban malls and closer to urban areas. The company has already begun to scout locations. For a more accurate understanding of the concept, dust off up your SAT analogy skills: What Old Navy is to Gap, J.Crew Mercantile will be to J.Crew. As the WSJ points out, Old Navy's launch was Mickey Drexler's idea back in the '90s, and the lower-priced store eventually "overtook Gap in both revenue and number of [national] stores."
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