J. Crew isn't cool anymore

J. Crew’s sales are still slumping.

The once-popular apparel company announced that sales at stores open at least a year were down a startling 13%.

The retailer’s sales have been steadily declining for more than a year.

“While the second quarter is certainly not where we’d like it to be, our performance was line with our expectations,” CEO Mickey Drexler said on a recent earnings call. “We’d anticipated the second quarter to be challenging as we work through spring and summer inventory.”

Earlier this year, the company attributed its woes to fashion misses such as an ill-fitting sweater.

The retailer has also been accused of alienating its core customers. Clothes have been called gaudy and overpriced, and many items are on sale.

J CrewHollis Johnson/Business InsiderThis skirt may be too gaudy for J. Crew’s customers’ tastes.

Getting J. Crew shoppers to pay full price could be challenging.

Elizabeth Holmes of The Wall Street Journal noted that “a steady drumbeat of sales, with discounts of as much as 40%, has trained some shoppers to balk at paying full price.”

J CrewHollis Johnson/Business InsiderAmple sales can hurt a company.

J. Crew truly showed its wear and tear when it laid off 10% of its corporate staff in June.

Recently, a customer wrote an open letter to the company suggesting how J. Crew could fix itself, but Drexler knows customers have been disappointed with the store’s offerings.

“Our job is to give them what they expect,” Drexler said on the call.

“We said on the last call, 2015 would be difficult, and we’re doing the best we can do to get the business moving forward,” Drexler said on the call. “…I did say to the team, the only one who really matters here in terms of judgment is the customer.”

J CrewHollis Johnson/Business InsiderWhat do you think of this sweater? It was originally $US399 — and marked down to $US199.

But Drexler promised on a recent earnings call that changes were en route. A major fall roll-out on September 14th would show drastic improvement.

He strongly encouraged people to go to stores, search online, and peruse the style guide to see changes that are already in effect.

He said on the call that one customer already emailed him to praise the changes she had begun to see in the store.

But Drexler acknowledged that despite these bright spots, the reality for J. Crew is still grim.

“If you’re in [this] business, you have a DNA that’s optimistic, but I think you’ll see a lot of positive changes that have gone on now,” he said on the call, “but until we have a call that speaks to numbers that make all of us happy, we’re not happy.”

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