Nike could be J. Crew's toughest rival

By MoneyTimes

Sep 07, 2015 10:24 PM EDT

J. Crew has been known for its conventionally preppy clothes and its basics.  The company lately has been criticized for not offering solid classic attire and is wandering from its core customers.

The question is if J. Crew will return to basics, would people still want to spend their money buying preppy clothes?

Clothing and apparel brands such as Nike, Lululemon, and Under Armour are making their way to the brand's market share as customers look for athletic wear, according to Business Insider as told by Moody's analyst Mike Zuccaro.

The clothing company has been battling with sales that declined double-digits from the previous years.

American shoppers prefer to be more casual with some even wearing athletic clothes to work. With the rise in yoga pants sale, denim sales declined.

Nike continues to expand its clothing assortments especially for females and could be J. Crew's silent tough rival.

Levi's which is another popular brand and has suffered from opting not capitalizing on athletic apparel.

"We're scrambling," Bloomberg notes Levi's CEO Chip Bergh told analysts last year. "I mean, there is a big difference between the product that we've got on the floor today and what the consumer is looking for. And we just flat-out missed it."

J. Crew cannot afford to struggle. Their sales have been uniformly declining for over a year, and these past quarter comparative sales were down to 13% from this quarter last year.

Being said, J. Crew began taking action and ventured into active wear in fall 2014 when it collaborated with Outdoor Voices' leggings that sell for $100, a price that is comparable to Lululemon.

Mickey Drexler, J.Crew's chief executive said on a conference call with analysts on Thursday that he promise to guide J. Crew back to its more traditional roots after departing far into the world of high-fashion.  "You'll see a calibration of products, not a change in direction," said Drexler, who's been battling to turn around J.Crew's women's business. The company's flagship label is having a rocky year, with comparative sales dipping 13 percent to $506 million last quarter.

Drexler keeps a steady and hopeful tone that a J. Crew shop in New York will get an introduction of new products on September 14.  "I'm not going to say I think it's the be-all, end-all because nothing ever is," he said. "But I think you're going to be really pleased, and what you see, more importantly, I hope the customers are."

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