SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

J.Crew & Steven Alan Kick Off The Post-Thanksgiving Week With Theory, Billy Reid, Hugo Boss & More

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Enough with Black Friday, Cyber Mondayand the heaps of holiday promotion at chain and department stores that we will all have to digest during a slightly longer than normal season. Bargain minded New Yorkers will be looking forward to their favorite sample sales before they start entering promo codes on their tablets and smartphones. Two perennial favorites kicked off on Monday in somewhat altered forms.

The J.CREW sale has regularly pulled huge crowds and sparked long lines, often taking over three of 260SampleSale's venues at once to include the main men's and women's labels as well as Crewcuts and MADEWELL. This year, the sale has undergone the kind of adjustment that such long-running sales often experience by going on a crash diet. Pared down to a single location at 260 Fifth Avenue, the once sprawling sale(s) has  assortments reduced dramatically, with men's products eliminated entirely except for a selection of shoes (pictured above). Why the slim-down, especially at its potentially most lucrative Holiday season sale? Who knows? There could be any number of reasons why, and it's worth remembering that nobody is actually obligated to hold sample sale at all, so they can do with them what they will. Shop what's left of the J.Crew sale through Sunday.

Having said all that, the STEVEN ALAN sale has returned to SoHo on Monday as well. Once the cause of frenzied lines across blocks of Tribeca, this sale has been under some transformations of its own, flirting with all-online versions and variations of public vs. private formats. The designer/storekeeper's choice to work with 260SampleSale appears to be working out nicely in terms of simple organizational efficiency as it has settled in nicely at 151 Greene Street through the weekend featuring its familiar mix of private label and third party designers with a sufficient cool factor. All SA-labeled goods are well-priced by category with everything less than $95 including his famous sorts (pictured below). Third party designers are a flat 75% off original prices which offers some great bargains as well. See the full price lists after the jump.

Some other old favorites are also returning this week including NANETTE LEPORE, whose showroom sales seem to pop ever more frequently. This one starts on Tuesday and runs through Friday featuring merchandise from the recent Fall and Pre-Fall collections along with archival samples and other special items.

The latest in a series of THEORY sales hits its usual Chelsea Market location on Wednesday. This one is dedicated to menswear and promises enough stock to carry it through the weekend.

BILLY REID fans should also mark their calendars for Wednesday as the designer opens up his Bond Street showroom for deep discounts on both his women's and men's collections. Located just across the street from his flagship boutique, look for shoes and accessories along with apparel through Saturday.

Finally, Saturday, brings us the stock version of HUGO BOSS's seasonal sample sale. Unlike the label's showroom sample events, this sale is expected to feature 70% the brand's famous tailored clothing in a full range of sizes for men and women along with shoes, accessories, furnishings and the rest of the brand's offerings.

For full details and locations, be sure to check out SALE ROLL sidebar at left. Next week, look for more excellent Holiday Shopping opportunities from Nancy Gonzalez, Alice and Olivia, Joie, Equipment and more.
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J.Crew & Steven Alan Kick Off The Post-Thanksgiving Week With Theory, Billy Reid, Hugo Boss & More" »


MEATPACKING MOVES:

Madewell To End The String Of Failed Restaurants In Florent's Old Home

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Many longtime New York dwellers like The Shophound still can't fail to cringe while strolling down Gansevoort Street when we pass the sad empty space at no. 69 where the beloved diner deluxe Florent (pictured above) used to welcome customers almost 24 hours a day. After the neighborhood stalwart was unceremoniously booted from the space in 2008, a succession of restaurants has tried to make a go of it in the space, but none succeeded, perhaps as a bitter reminder of the bad karma that builds up when an ill-advised landlord whimsically decides to push out a thriving neighborhood mainstay.
Well, the space's time as a restaurant has come to an end as Madewell has announced the address as it's newest Manhattan location. Expected to open sometime in 2016, it is not yet known exactly how much the space will be transformed, though it seems unlikely that it will still need a kitchen. While the interior will likely be completely changed, it is not yet known if the original R&L Restaurant sign and diner-style exterior will remain or if it can be altered at all as part of the Gansevoort Historic District. In any event, the string of post-Florent failures has made the space known as a cursed space for restaurants. Perhaps a change of purpose and a burgeoning national chain will revive the building's fortunes.

Madewell Store Coming To Meatpacking District In 2016, Company Says (DNAinfo)


RUMORS REALIZED:

J.Crew To Launch Lower Priced 'Mercantile' Brand This Month In Dallas

JCrewMercantileSo the lesson here is to take whatever J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler says with a grain of salt.
A little over a year ago, rumors were flying around that J.Crew was developing a lower priced division to be called 'Mercantile'. It was possibly to be a sort of response to Gap Inc.'s Old Navy division which, not coincidentally, Drexler developed during his tenure there. Drexler swiftly responded to the rumors, telling the press not to make too much of them, and that he was always buying names for brands just because he liked the sound of them.
Sure.
Cut to this afternoon, when J.Crew officially announced that its first J.Crew Mercantile store would be opening later this month atThe Shops at Park Lane in Dallas, Texas.
Well, what do you know?
It's probably also not a coincidence that Old Navy has been getting lots of attention lately as the break-out success in Gaps stable of retail chains while J.Crew's progress has hit some high profile pitfalls in recent months. Make of all this what you will. According to the announcement, J. Crew Mercantile will carry the same product designed for the J.Crew Factory stores and website, which is already being identified as the online home for the new brand (as pictured above). While the press release is fairly limited, it almost looks like the upcoming store is a test of sorts possibly for a new division or a simple rebranding of the Factory chain that moves it into more conventional shopping centers and out of the outlet malls. We will have to wait and see how it all shakes out, but we can be pretty confident that nobody will mind the arrival of a more affordable version of J.Crew.

J.Crew Group, Inc. Announces Opening Of J.Crew Mercantile (PRNewswire)


SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

Rag & Bone vs. A J.Crew/Madewell Triple Header + Marchesa & More
UPDATED

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The Madewell Sample Sale (pictured above) starts today at 151 Wooster St.

Basically, there are two big sales going on this week, and one of them is actually three.
Today is the launch of one of the most anticipated sales of every season, the J.CREW Sample Sale, or Sales, we should probably say. Its regular host, 260SampleSale has pulled out all the stops and distributed the company's various divisions over all of its current venues. Home base at 260 Fifth Avenue is the main women's J.Crew sale finally taking over the whole space including the Crewcuts children's line. Downtown in SoHo, the spacious 151 Wooster St. space will house the first ever stand-alone MADEWELL sale which should please the burgeoning chain's fans. Finally, around the corner, the J.CREW MEN'S sale will take over the newest space at 129 Prince Street which, it should be noted, is roomier and easier to shop than the space the men's sale used to use on Fifth Avenue and has the extra added bonus of three genuine built-in dressing rooms, which will help eliminate that pesky guessing game of sizes and cuts. This new arrangement should go a long way to alleviate the ridiculous line that generally forms for the sale's first day, We previewed the Madewell and Men's sales yesterday, and found what we generally find at these sales. We must always remind shoppers that the J.Crew Sample Sales are mostly actual production samples, and that means that sizing can be limited and somewhat inconsistent. The prices at about 60% off can also be not so far off what you can pay inside a regular J.Crew store right now, especially with the chain's promotional extra discounts. Still, the sale plus a crowd, and it's not unusual to find familiar items in alternate color ways. At the men's sale, we found the usual assortments, but there was an extra abundance of great bag samples that were extremely well priced if  a bit well-worn as well. The shoes looked good too, along with a lot of outerwear that is always tough to look at on a hit summer day. At Madewell there was lots of room, and lots of accessories in particular. items appeared to be arranged more by style than size, but with the 3-way location split, it might be the sleeper that is a little easier to get into and easier to shop. Have a look above and below at a few images from the sale before the crowds descended.

This week's other big event is the always anticipated RAG & BONE sale starting tomorrow, Wednesday at its regular Chelsea Market locale. Note that the preferred entrance is on 16th street, though the doors that lead inside the market are sometimes available. This is also one of the most popular and well-attended sales every season even though typically, the discount is similar to what one might find at Barney's on markdown this time of year. The difference is that, at times, the sample sale has offered a great abundance of merchandise. there's usually a lot of stuff here particularly in denim, knitwear and woven shirts, as well as accessories for men and women. While we don't yet know what this season's assortments will include, we have become accustomed to seeing a lot of it. Both J.Crew's and Rag & Bone's sales are scheduled through Sunday, and both are know to reduce prices toward the final days, so for some it's worth holding out for the weekend.

There are not a lot of other sales this week relative to earlier in the month, although, MARCHESA started its big sale on Monday at the Starrett-Lehigh building in West Chelsea.. While it is scheduled to run through tomorrow, reports have indicated such eager crowds that they might not have enough goods to last that long. If glamor and gowns are your thing, then get over there right away.

Another promising event to look out for is a mulit-brand sale at Bowery and Kenmore featuring an enviable quartet of labels including M. PATMOSTESS GIBERSONULLA JOHNSON and SURF BAZAAR. It runs from Wednesday through Friday and previews suggest reductions on some items as low as 90% off.

Next week's sale schedule has yet to take shape, but at the center will be the RALPH LAUREN HOME sale at the Altman building. Keep an eye on out SALE ROLL side bar at left for all the details, late breaking sales and any other updates.

UPDATE:
6/23- The Shophound stopped by the Rag & Bone VIP Preview this afternoon, and can report that the men's selection is pretty thin. The discounts are about the same as last season, and so is a lot of the merchandise. The shoe offering, in particular, was much diminished compared to previous seasons. While we didn't go through it with a fine toothed comb, it looks like there is much more available on the women's side of the sale including shoes and accessories. It's possible that they were not completely finished setting up the sale, so it may look better when it opens officially tomorrow, but at least half of the sale looked somewhat disappointing this time around

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A look inside the Madewell Sample Sale
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Around the corner at the J.Crew Men's Sample Sale

 


POP-UP ALERT:

J.Crew Plans A 24 Hour Pop-Up For The CFDA/Vogue Winners Tomorrow

PublicSchoolJcrewIf you have been waiting to get a hold of Public School's first womenswear pieces (pictured at left), or see how Juan Carlos Obando translates his soigné eveningwear into sportier fare, then get yourself down to J.Crew's Prince Street women's store for a blink-and-you'll-miss-it featuring the capsule collections that they as well as fellow CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner Marc Alary made for the chain. Though J.Crew has been featuring the prizewinners for the past three years, including designers like Billy Reid and Prabal Gurung, this is the first time that they have collected them together for a major presentation, even if it is only in one store for one day. Previously, the releases have been staggered over the early Summer months, but this time the exclusive lines will all be released at once, and select items will be available in only nine J. Crew stores worldwide. It makes sense to show them together as the designers were all asked to incorporate an indigo theme in their collections and include at least one t-shirt. The results have reportedly been selling out in pre-order online, so this may be your only chance to get ahold of one of the nineteen pieces created by the three labels.

CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Winner Pop-up Shop at J.Crew on Thursday June 12, 99 Prince Street between Mercer & Greene Streets, SoHo
J. Crew to Install CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Pop-Up Shop


TAKEOVER TALK:

Will J.Crew & Uniqlo Become Siblings?

Here's an end-of-the-week rumor to give the retail world something to talk about while Mother Nature (or is it Evil Step-Mother Nature?) dumps another ton of snow on us: Japan's Fast Retailing, parent company of Uniqlo, Theory, Helmut Lang, Comptoir des Cotonniers and a few others, is in talks to buy J.Crew from it's private equity owners for around $5 billion.

TPG and Leonard Green & Partners LP, who took the company private in 2010 have been said to be preparing to cash out soon with a IPO, but they have also, apparently, been entertaining talks with possible suitors for a sale of the chain. Fast Retailing may not be the only one in the running, but with a market capitalization of ¥3.7 trillion ($36.33 billion), it looks like strong contender. J.Crew fills a niche, more upscale than Uniqlo and more broadly-based than Theory, that is not occupied by any other brand in Fast Retailing's stable. The Wall Street Journal says that talks are in the early stages and may lead to nothing, or they may lead to a gigantic retail merger.

Stay tuned.

J. Crew in Talks to be Sold to Japan's Fast Retailing (Wall Street Journal)