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J.Crew to close all of its UK stores

Lauretta Roberts
21 September 2020

J.Crew is to close all of its UK stores following the US retailer's successful exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The preppy fashion retailer has six UK stores, including a flagship on London's Oxford Street, but has said that it will now serve the UK market from its e-commerce site only.

FRP Advisory has been appointed as liquidators for the UK business, which also has a head office in London, The Guardian reports.

The company confirmed in a statement: "After a thorough review, we have determined we are best able to serve our UK customers through our global e-commerce platform and are closing our six store locations in the country."

The move comes after the US business exited Chapter 11 earlier this month having completed a financial restructuring and with a new majority shareholder Anchorage Capital Group, which swapped $1.6bn in debt for equity.

After the business exited bankruptcy, CEO Jan Singer, who joined the business in January having previously been at Victoria's Secret, said: “Looking forward, our strategy is focused on three core pillars: delivering a focused selection of iconic, timeless products; elevating the brand experience to deepen our relationship with customers; and prioritizing frictionless shopping.”

Singer's former employer Victoria's Secret, the US lingerie chain, last week agreed a JV deal with high street giant Next to run its UK arm, which includes 25 stores and an e-commerce business. The UK arm had previously been placed into administration.

J.Crew's exit from the UK comes after a string of US brands all tried, and failed, to crack the UK retail market. Gap's premium brand Banana Republic exited the UK in 2016, eight years after it arrived and never having really committed to the market in any meaningful way.

Like J.Crew, which arrived in the UK in 2013, Banana Republic struggled to justify its premium price point for products consumers felt they could get elsewhere at a much more competitive price.

Denim-led brand American Eagle Outfitters called it a day in the UK in 2017 having opened just three stores in the market, while fast fashion retailer Forever 21 also put its UK arm into administration last year.

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