J. Crew Going Corporate

This time, J. Crew means business. The company mailed its first corporate sales catalog on Sept. 8 to roughly 350,000 businesses nationwide, many of which were gleaned from J. Crew’s house file.

“We’ve had many companies call our 800-number to place orders for their businesses,” says Walter Killough, chief operating officer of the New York-based apparel marketer. “So we already had a group sales department at the company” despite the fact that J. Crew did not have a formal corporate sales business. The corporate catalog also mailed to other large businesses that $284.8 million J. Crew Group or its parent company, Texas Pacific, has relationships with, Killough says, as well as to rented lists of smaller businesses.

The merchandise includes chinos, polo shirts, and rollneck sweaters. Prices range from $12.50 for a T-shirt to $198 for a wool crepe blazer. Most items can be embroidered with a company’s logo, although J. Crew wants to position the line as more than a “your name here” apparel selection. “We tried to put a twist on the corporate offering and offer not just items that would logo easily,” Killough says.

The corporate sales book is a test, “and we have the ability to go back and do a remail in late October or early November,” Killough says. As sales roll in, “we’ll be reading the data to figure out if the catalog has the right page count and merchandise, and if we’re targeting the right customer,” he says.

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