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Storecasting: J.Crew Plans to Weather Recession By Opening in Malibu

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In a uniquely bad year for retail, J.Crew's had some excellent luck. While peers like the Gap and Banana Republic made weird, sad attempts at rebranding, and fancier labels suffered from luxury backlash, J.Crew managed to keep a consistent preppy vision and wrangle an endorsement from the first family. Still, the company's stock dipped last quarter, and CEO Mickey Drexler tells WWD that he's proceeding with caution.

One of these cautious plans: Drop the cookie-cutter mall formula and tailor certain stores to their individual locations. Another one: Ramp up J.Crew Collection, which WWD describes as "higher-priced unique designs produced in limited quantities." Both of these ideas will soon see fruit in Malibu, where a store is slated to open next month. It's supposed to be a little more high-end "but be tailored for Southern California," leading us to expect lots and lots of flower-print bikinis.
· The Obamas Continue to Spread a Message of Hope and J.Crew [Racked]
· Despite Fourth-Quarter Loss, J. Crew Sees Room to Grow [WWD]