The favorite store of Michelle Obama, the first lady of casual fashion, is planning to open a location in London. Brit shoppers have been able to purchase J Crew’s line of casual chic clothing on the internet and on Net-A-Porter for some time now, but soon they will have the option to try on the clothes before buying.
CEO Mickey Drexler said that he is seeking a bricks and mortar location because the brand is a “visual experience” which a catalogue or website cannot convey. After searching through London’s best shopping areas, he has settled on Regent Street as the location for the chain’s first European store. Word is that the chain is already talking to agents and landlords.
J Crew joins a growing list of American retail chains which have opened stores in London, including Banana Republic, Forever 21, Michael Kors, and its soon-to-be neighbor on Regent Street, Anthropologie.
The chain has 235 stores in America. It opened its first store outside of the US in Canada this year. If the UK venture proves successful, the chain plans to open stores in France and Germany.
The plan to open in the UK, however, may prove to be too risky for the company. The retail giant had a net income of $79.6 million last year, but through the first six months of this year, it had a net loss of $40.5 million due to acquisition-related costs.
Controversy has also stalked the company recently. Several psychiatrists complained in April of this year that the store was promoting transgenderism when Jenna Lyons, the store’s president and creative director, painted her son’s nails with bright pink nail polish for an email ad. In the same month, the company received accusations that it had copied, without permission, Tony Duquette’s famous leopard print for its Duquette Print Sweater.