J Crew London: Iconic American retailer opens 16,000 sq ft Regent Street store
The iconic American label has given its international debut today
Linda Sharkey has been an online journalist at The Independent since 2011. She is involved in different areas across the website and is currently the editor of our latest tool, Independent Plus. As the fashionista of the team, she looks after our Fashion section. Linda also shares her style on her pesonal blog www.fashioninsideout.co.uk
Friday 08 November 2013
Michelle Obama's favourite label, J.Crew, launches in the UK with a 16,000 sq ft Regent Street store.
The iconic American retailer opened its very first flagship store outside North America today.
The chief executive of J Crew, Millard Drexler, told BBC: "Why now? Is because we know there's a lot of UK costumers who shop a lot in our New York stores.
"Our fastest online growing business is the UK business and the vibe here is very much a J.Crew feeling."
However, it seems that the clothes are overpriced. For example, a sweatshirt would cost in the UK £168, while in the US it would cost $168, which means that swapping dollar signs for pounds bumps the prices nearly 60 per cent higher. Mr Drexler described the controversial price tag as a "matter of cost differentials" since they are "frankly doing what most other people [with international businesses] do".
On the other hand, the brand's creative director, Jenna Lyons, told Vogue: "We pay really close attention to it - we face airport taxes and duties here that we don't necessarily have in the States which is one of the challenges that you face by doing business in a country where you don't have a home base."
Nevertheless, celebrations took place on their opening week. Hundreds of balloons were releases as the store opened its doors. Also London's iconic black cabs were covered with J. Crew ads promoting the opening across the capital.
Mr Drexler, also known as "the man who dressed America", told CNBC: "This is the most important store we've opened in a long time."
The company operates 443 retail store and generates £1.2bn sales a year.
The success of the London store would determine whether or not they move forward with their plans of expanding to Asia.
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