credit: Jcrew catalog August 2011

The In-Store Story: New Items or new price cuts?
Both. Some of my favorite color combinations for casual wear go perfectly with dark skinny jeans (warm redwood with vintage ivory). In the sweater category, the thin ones are silkspun V-necks, and two longer cardigans. The thicker sweaters are the clipper cardigan and the ribbed yoga cardigan which are selling out quickly.

For shirts, the thicker options are two rustic looking plaids, a blue one and a green herringbone plaid. The voile popover tunics are gorgeous but best layered under the silkspun sweaters. The main tees are the rugby stripe baseball tees, floral tanks, and pintuck tees. I don’t know if they’ll be replenished, but the warm redwood/henna colors are almost sold out.

Skirts are pricey but selling out at the higher price point which is amazing since its usually the category that has the longest shelf time.

Pricing: A New Paradigm
If J.Crew and Anthropologie were boys you dated, Anthropologie would be the indie artist and J.Crew would be the professional with a great job. But if we were looking at pricing strategy, J.Crew would be the boyfriend who plays mindgames and Anthropologie would be the straightforward easygoing one.

So what’s changed with J.Crew’s sale pricing? Two things — the first price cut is just a tad larger and online inventory is being depleted before in-store sales. People are paying a little more, but they are still willing to buy and won’t bother to return it at these prices. In the past, we’ve relied on finding the item online if the store didn’t have the smaller sizes but its no longer possible since online inventories are lower (or perceived to be lower).

So who is this a problem for? Basically, folks who wear XS. In fact, I’ve a hunch people who wear size S will be paying lower prices on average than people who wear XS simply because XS is being systematically cleaned out, and only the larger sizes will make it to the second price cut. The other problem is a sizing issue. The XXS will not make it to sale, so how will people know if they should size down? That’s a bigger problem since all online sale items are not returnable.

What does this mean on Ebay? Well, you’re likely to see fewer XS items since based on my scouting trips, there’s been as few as one XS available. The good news is for people who wear size S — larger sizes are available for the second price cut so people will pay a lot less. (The reverse problem exists at Anthropologie, where smaller sizes make it to the second and third price cuts, while the larger sizes sell out.)

Despite all, it’s a good season — JCrew has done a lovely job on intensity of its colors and great classic items in new colors. While the consensus is that Anthro is having one of its best fall seasons in a long time. Good news for all.