Client Description

J. Crew Group, Inc. provides apparel products. The Company offers shirts, tops, sweaters, shoes, pants, skirts, shoes, and jewelry products. J. Crew Group serves customers worldwide.

The retailer is known for its preppy fashions, including jeans, khakis, and other items sold to young professionals through its catalogs, websites, and nearly 520 retail and factory stores across the US under the J. Crew, and Madewell banners. Madewell is a women’s-only collection of hip, casual clothes. Outside of the US, the retailer also boasts 32 stores across Canada, London, Hong Kong, and Paris. The American retailer sources about 97% of its merchandise from factories outside of the US, 60% being sourced from China and Hong Kong.Founded in 1947, the company made its name as a catalog retailer. Its first physical store appeared in 1989.

The J. Crew brand (comprising J. Crew Retail and J. Crew Factory) generates some 85% of total revenue. About 55% of J. Crew’s total sales come from women’s apparel sales, while men’s and children’s apparel sales generate 25% and over 5% of total sales, respectively. Accessories brought in the remainder of the retailer’s total sales. J Crew Retail’s stores are upscale and located in high-end regional malls, lifestyle centers, and on-street locations.

J. Crew Factory stores are located primarily in large outlet malls and sell a specific line of merchandise tailored after products sold in the previous season at J. Crew retail stores and online.

The company’s fast-growing Madewell line offers women’s apparel, including a new line of suits, that is priced 20% to 30% lower than J. Crew merchandise. As at August 2016, the company operated 287 J. Crew retail stores, 108 Madewell stores, and 170 factory stores, mostly in the US.

New York-based J. Crew boasts some 545 stores in 44 US states and the District of Columbia, with nearly half of its stores located across the states of California, New York, Florida, Texas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Florida, and Pennsylvania. The US market accounts for essentially all of the retailer’s sales.

Beyond the US, it operates two stores in Paris; 18 stores in three Canadian provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario); seven stores in London; and four stores in Hong Kong. J. Crew’s e-commerce site is active in 100 countries.

TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners (LGP) bought J. Crew in March 2011 in a deal valued at about $3.1 billion, including the assumption of $1.6 billion in debt. The two new owners retained J.Crew’s CEO Mickey Drexler, who owns nearly 10% of the business. 

Challenge

J Crew was in the middle of implementing a new reporting system that involved ingesting POS data into IBM’s MDM solution. This solution involved creating upwards of 500K individual XML files using DataStage’s latest XML pack (hierarchical stage).

Solution

Initially, our team was just responsible for creating the XML files, but soon inherited the staging of all the POS data in an Oracle database via DataStage jobs and shell scripts.

Benefits

The resulting reporting solution allows J Crew to build full profiles of their customers including purchasing habits and both geographic and time-based fashion trends.

  • Tools: IBM InfoSphere DataStage | Oracle
  • Categories: Big Data, MDM, Strategy
  • Tags: Retail