It remains unclear whether the J.Crew store located at 29 Broadway will be one of the 39 retail stores the national corporation closes this fiscal quarter, which ends in January.
The New Haven branch, one of the original tenants in University Properties’ Broadway redevelopment in the early 2000s, has been open for over 15 years, said Lauren Zucker, the associate vice president for University Properties and New Haven affairs.
“I unfortunately don’t know what J.Crew’s current intentions are as it relates to their announcement of future store closures,” she said in an email to the News.
Sales associates and the manager at J.Crew declined to comment on the store’s financial situation and potential closure, deferring comment to corporate headquarters, which did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.
The company’s announcement to close stores nationwide follows a steady decrease in J.Crew sales over the past few years. The company’s announcement of third quarter earnings revealed a net loss of $161,576,000 over the first nine months of 2017. And the decline is only accelerating: In the first nine months of 2016, the losser totaled $24,568,000. The company announced plans last week to close 39 stores in the fourth quarter, twice the number it had previously projected.
Earlier this year, American Apparel — a clothing store that targeted millennials and bordered the J. Crew store on Broadway — closed, as the corporation shuttered stores nationwide after its sale to Gildan Activewear.
Residents, Yalies and tourists interviewed by the News expressed mixed opinions about New Haven’s J. Crew store.
Emma Rutan ’21 said she has been inside the J.Crew with her mother, who is a fan of the store, but she does not personally shop there.
Rutan said she believes the J.Crew does not offer essential items, unlike Patagonia, another Broadway shop that sells clothing at similar price points. She added that she would like to see the J.Crew replaced by a store more accessible to Yale students.
“I saw a shirt that was $99. It’s unnecessary,” she said. “Let’s get a Charlotte Russe or a Forever 21 — some place we could all shop at.”
Zucker told the News that the store’s year-round 15 percent student discount gives students greater ability to shop at J. Crew.
Marinda Brown, a New Haven resident, has never been inside the J.Crew. She said she is generally indifferent to the Broadway shops, because she conducts most of her shopping online and has little need for brick-and-mortar stores.
Indeed, Brown is one of many Americans making the switch to online shopping. A Pew Research Center survey published in December 2016 found that 79 percent of Americans shop online, compared to 22 percent in June 2000. Fung Global Retail and Tech, a New York based think tank, released a report this past Friday claiming the total number of stores that have closed in 2017 has increased 224 percent over last year, which totals 6,879 closures.
But these studies do not conclude that consumers are abandoning brick-and-mortar retail entirely.
“I’d buy something in store,” said Karen Diche, who stopped by J.Crew as part of her visit to Yale from California.
Though previously unaware of J.Crew’s plans to close dozens of stores nationwide, Diche said she was unsurprised by the news. She said she has seen stores closing around her hometown and credited e-commerce as the driver.
The development of The Shops at Yale — a group of more than 65 retailers in the Elm City, which includes J.Crew — was led by Yale University Properties’ community investment program nearly two decades ago. Zucker maintains that the program has strengthened the vibrancy of life in New Haven, transforming Broadway from an area students often avoided to one they feel comfortable frequenting.
The first J.Crew retail store was opened in 1989, at the South Street Seaport in Manhattan.
Brianna Wu | firstname.lastname@example.org