Is J. Crew too expensive in Canada?
Consumers are getting their sweater sets in a knot with the news that J. Crew has raised its prices for the Canadian market. Its first Canadian store opened just last Thursday with prices approximately 15 per cent higher than in the U.S. and, in some cases, up to 50 per cent higher for some items on their Canadian e-commerce site. Despite Canada’s rising dollar, the price gap between Canadian and U.S. products has risen in many cases. Retailers claim there are higher costs attached to conducting business in Canada, like accounting for duty and working within a retail culture that has fewer economies of scale. Take the case of poor Suzanne Dugard, who was interviewed for the Globe’s coverage of J. Crew’s arrival in Toronto. She shelled out $600 at the Yorkdale store on Thursday and thousands more for “virtually her whole wardrobe,” bought from the retail website—this woman, interviewed in a J. Crew twin set, jeans and ballet flats, will not be purchasing another item until something is done about the price disparity. While our hearts go out to the needy, we don’t expect this furor to translate into a drastic decline in sales at Canada’s first J. Crew. Those who are too outraged to drive to Buffalo will likely return to Club Monaco and Talbots for their cashmere sweaters and sensible ballet flats, but we imagine many will simply bite the bullet and pay a bit extra, because it beats flying or driving to New York for a pencil skirt.