June 03, 2010

J. Crew and Rue La La

Want to make a good use of the next ten minutes? Give this transcript a read ... J. Crew pumped-out 18% pre-tax profit last quarter. In case you didn't know, that's not an easy accomplishment. Ten percent pre-tax profit is often considered a gold standard in apparel retailing ... in my sixteen years at Lands' End, Eddie Bauer, and Nordstrom, the companies I worked for only exceeded 10% four times (I think three of the times were at Nordstrom). Just read the merchandising passion they exude in a boring investor conference call.

And then there is Rue La La --- debuting apps: Don't tell me that "... that doesn't apply to us, we're not some low price auction brand, our customers are different, they love sitting in front of the fireplace thumbing through a catalog that has been sitting on the coffee table for twelve weeks" ... that's an excuse to not even try, folks. It is pretty obvious now that the future isn't e-commerce. If I am running an e-commerce division, I want my customer to hold my brand in her hand at all times ... anything short of that and we're just clinging to the past.

Page Counts When Bifurcation Hurts All Other Customers

Yesterday we talked about the fact that best catalog customers (a minority of your file) deserve MANY catalogs that are merchandised with...