Wednesday, 28 Oct 2020

J. Crew to Shutter U.K. Stores, Keep E-commerce Running

LONDON — J. Crew is shutting its six stores in the U.K., a little over a week after the company emerged from bankruptcy in the U.S.

A spokesperson for J. Crew said Monday that “after thorough review, we have determined we are best able to serve our U.K. customers through our global e-commerce platform and are closing our six store locations in the country. We thank our U.K. associates for their dedication during this unprecedented time and are working to support their transition.”

It is understood that the closures will result in the loss of about 75 jobs. All of the J. Crew shops were in London, and the company also had a head office here.

Londoners initially welcomed the J. Crew stores with open arms, but the honeymoon didn’t last long once they saw the sticker prices, which were considerably higher than what they were used to paying on shopping trips to the U.S.

London rents and the formerly strong pound against the dollar weighed on prices and the stores — fun, buzzy and hyper-merchandised — lost their appeal among local shoppers, who opted for less expensive retailers including Zara, H&M, Cos and & Other Stories.

The company landed in London with a bang in 2013, opening three stand-alone stores in quick succession, including a men’s-only unit spanning 1,300 square feet that’s located at 38 Lamb’s Conduit Street, near the British Museum. Other shops followed in South Kensington, and on Regent Street.

J. Crew would later open in Sloane Square and in Shoreditch, East London.

As reported, the parent company, J. Crew Group, emerged from bankruptcy earlier this month, completing a four-month restructuring process involving sharply reducing its debt and bringing in new ownership.

The company said it’s now “well positioned for long-term growth,” after having converted $1.6 billion of its $1.7 billion of debt into equity, establishing Anchorage Capital Group LLC as its majority owner.

Anchorage Capital Group is a New York-based registered investment adviser founded in 2003. The firm manages private investment funds, with a focus on defaulted and leveraged issuers.

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