Things have been ‘miserable’ in retail

“Things have been miserable in retail,” Mickey Drexler, the former CEO along with current chairman of J.Crew, said Thursday at the brand-new York Times’ DealBook conference. “The last two or three years have not been fun whatsoever.”

Drexlerstepped down after 14 years with apparel company J.Crew, telling The Wall Street Journal at one point he didn’t realize how quickly technology could impact his industry.

“Things were moving in This particular direction, although I don’t think anyone was prepared,” Drexler said Thursday about shopping moving online.

Drexler was famed for his turnaround of Gap from the 1990s. When he arrived at J.Crew in 2003, he worked hard to do the same by introducing the idea of providing designer quality clothing for the masses. in which strategy succeeded for a while.

Recently, J.Crew is actually struggling to find its footing in a sea of apparel brands, each striving to win shoppers’ dollars.

Meantime, there are brand-new entrants flooding the market, along with many of them non-traditional e-commerce players. Companies like Stitch Fix, Rent the Runway along with Untuckit run the majority of their operations online.

“Fast fashion has had huge growth,” Drexler said about players, like Zara, in apparel retailing. He also called out up-along with-coming brands Allbirds along with Outdoor Voices for their recent successes. Notably, Drexler is actually chairman of Outdoor Voices, an athletic apparel company based in Austin, Texas.

When asked about Wal-Mart’s recent acquisition of men’s clothing company Bonobos, Drexler said: “I don’t understand This particular. [Wal-Mart] should have bought J.Crew.”

At one point, Drexler said his management team at J.Crew approached Amazon about a partnership, saying he has “enormous respect” for the internet giant. although those discussions never resulted in a concrete deal.

In turn, Amazon is actually seen quietly creating its own private-label apparel brands, tackling the industry head-on.

“This particular’s not to say in which everybody is actually dying,” Drexler said, adding in which he doesn’t think clothes are “in which important” to retail anymore. “Long term, we’ll see who wins along with loses.”

According to Drexler, monitoring changing consumer behavior is actually the most important thing an apparel retailer or mall owner can do. “You can’t just blame technology,” he said.

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