J. Crew to partner with WeWork
On Tuesday, J.Crew, WeWork and LinkedIn debuted a panel series targeting entrepreneurs and "goal-getters," with events in New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and Philadelphia, WeWork told Retail Dive in an email. Professionals and notables will gather to talk about what success means to them, with some of the proceeds going to local nonprofits.
J.Crew is launching new wear-to-work pieces and a campaign, including on its blog, featuring WeWork members styled in the collection, available on JCrew.com and in J.Crew stores nationwide, according to the release. J.Crew pop-ups will be held in select WeWork locations, available exclusively to WeWork members, the company said.
WeWork in October bought Lord & Taylor's iconic Fifth Avenue property for $850 million and is said to be mulling an expansion into retail, which could include short-term retail leases or incorporating shops into co-working spaces as an amenity for members.
Jennifer Skyler, chief communications officer for WeWork, told Glossy magazine that the tie-up with J. Crew is its "first collaboration ... with a fashion company in this way to celebrate our members."
"The individual missions of WeWork, J.Crew and LinkedIn embrace diversity, authenticity and a personal brand of confidence," WeWork told Retail Dive in an email. "Together, the brands are excited to be a part of the ongoing conversation around ideas of success and personal and professional fulfillment. We feel strongly that building confidence in your personal brand and style is a large part of your success story."
It does already have a partnership of sorts with Hudson's Bay Company-owned Lord & Taylor, which is operating in the iconic 5th Avenue space through next year's holiday season, after which WeWork plans to build its New York headquarters there. Lord & Taylor won't disappear even then, as plans are to leave some 150,000 square feet for a downsized department store on the property.
J. Crew, meanwhile, enjoys a strong brand identity, despite financial straits and fashion missteps in recent years. The retailer's style matches WeWork's vibe, but the exposure J. Crew will get, even from a partnership with such synergy, may not be enough to save it. The retailer's massive debt load has interfered with the brand's performance and prospects. The company shuttered several stores last month, even as it made changes to styling under new CEO James Brett. Longtime CEO Mickey Drexler stepped down over the summer amid the retailer's debt-burdened struggles.
In November, as J. Crew reported a devastating third quarter — total revenue fell 5% to $566.7 million against the year-ago period and same-store sales fell 9% — Brett promised that he was working to "reinvigorate the J.Crew Brand to reflect the America of today." The sales numbers were announced along with the brand's plans to shutter 50 stores in 2017 and another 39 for the fourth quarter.
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