August 23, 2005, 12:00 AM

The web grows in importance at J. Crew

The web is emerging as a more important channel at J. Crew in large measure because of increased traffic and a bigger customer database. As a result, J. Crew is expanding e-commerce operations to include more web stores and shopping portals.


J. Crew Group Inc. will make the web even more of a key sales channel in its bid to become a better diversified retailer. For instance, to capitalize on the growing number of visitors who are looking for online bargains of J. Crew merchandise, the company is launching by the end of the year.

J. Crew, which reported web sales of $121.9 million for its latest fiscal year and is No. 65 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, also plans to open other category-based shopping portals such as Crewcuts, a new apparel and accessories line for children ages 2 through 8.

The details of the company’s revised web and multi-channel sales strategy are contained in J. Crew’s S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission for its initial public offering of stock. The multi-channel retailer filed with the SEC on Aug. 17.

The web is emerging as an even more important sales channel at J. Crew in large measure because of increased traffic and a bigger customer relationship management database, which the retailer says is helping to better identify customer segments and understand their purchasing behavior.

In its S-1 filing, the company reports that traffic to increased 20% from 40 million visitors in 2003 to 48 million in 2004.

To market its upcoming e-commerce site and shopping portals, J. Crew will rely on an opt-in e-mail list of 2.8 million names and a customer database of 20 million individual customer names. The database represents an active customer list: 2.1 million households have placed a catalog or Internet order with J. Crew or made a store purchase within the last 12 months, the company says.

“We plan to expand our Internet business by adding category-based ‘shops’ to our web site,” J. Crew says in its S-1 filing. “We believe these shops will offer our customers a more personalized and interactive shopping experience.”


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