10-K 1 jcg-10k_20160130.htm 10-K jcg-10k_20160130.htm

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

Form 10-K

 

(Mark One)

x

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended January 30, 2016

or

¨

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

Commission

File Number

 

Registrant, State of Incorporation

Address and Telephone Number

 

I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.

333-175075

 

 

 

22-2894486

 

J.CREW GROUP, INC.

(Incorporated in Delaware)

 

770 Broadway

New York, New York 10003

Telephone: (212) 209 2500

Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(b) and 12(g) of the Act: None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  ¨    No  x

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  ¨    No  x

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. x

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer

 

¨

  

Accelerated filer

 

¨

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

x  (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)

  

Smaller reporting company

 

¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).    Yes  ¨    No  x

As of August 1, 2015, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, there was no established public trading market for the common stock of the registrant and therefore, an aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock is not determinable.

There were 1,000 shares of the Company’s $0.01 par value common stock outstanding on March 17, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

DISCLOSURE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This report contains “forward-looking statements,” which include information concerning our plans, objectives, goals, strategies, future events, future revenues or performance, capital expenditures, financing needs and other information that is not historical information. Many of these statements appear under the headings “Business” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” particularly under the sub-heading “Outlook.” When used in this report, the words “estimate,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “project,” “plan,” “intend,” “believe” and variations of such words or similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, our examination of operating trends, are based upon our current expectations and various assumptions. We believe there is a reasonable basis for our expectations and beliefs, but there can be no assurance that we will realize our expectations or that our beliefs will prove correct.

There are a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained in this report. Important factors that could cause our actual results to differ include, but are not limited to, our substantial indebtedness and the indebtedness of our indirect parent, our substantial lease obligations, the strength of the global economy, declines in consumer spending or changes in seasonal consumer spending patterns, competitive market conditions, our ability to anticipate and timely respond to changes in trends and consumer preferences, our ability to successfully develop, launch and grow our newer concepts and execute on strategic initiatives, product offerings, sales channels and businesses, adverse or unseasonable weather, material disruption to our information systems, our ability to implement our real estate strategy, our ability to implement our international expansion strategy, our ability to attract and retain key personnel, interruptions in our foreign sourcing operations, and other factors which are set forth under the heading “Risk Factors.” There may be other factors of which we are currently unaware or deem immaterial that may cause our actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements.

All forward-looking statements attributable to us or persons acting on our behalf apply only as of the date they are made and are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements included in this report. Except as may be required by law, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date they were made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

 

 

 

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PART I

 

ITEM  1.

BUSINESS.

“J.Crew,” the “Company,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer to J.Crew Group, Inc. (“Group”) and its wholly owned subsidiaries, including J.Crew Operating Corp. (“Operating”). “Parent” refers to Group’s ultimate parent, Chinos Holdings, Inc.

Overview

J.Crew is an internationally recognized multi-brand apparel and accessories retailer that differentiates itself through high standards of quality, style, design and fabrics. We are a vertically-integrated omni-channel specialty retailer that operates stores and websites both domestically and internationally. We design, market and sell our products, including those under the J.Crew® and Madewell® brands, offering complete assortments of women’s, men’s and children’s apparel and accessories. We believe our customer base consists primarily of affluent, college-educated, professional and fashion-conscious women and men.  

We sell our J.Crew and Madewell merchandise through our retail and factory stores, our websites and our catalogs. As of January 30, 2016, we operated 287 J.Crew retail stores, 161 J.Crew factory stores (including 10 J.Crew Mercantile stores), and 103 Madewell stores throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and France; compared to 280 J.Crew retail stores, 139 J.Crew factory stores, and 85 Madewell stores as of January 31, 2015.

Our fiscal year ends on the Saturday closest to January 31, typically resulting in a 52-week year, but occasionally includes an additional week, resulting in a 53-week year. All references to fiscal 2015 reflect the results of the 52-week period ended January 30, 2016; all references to fiscal 2014 reflect the results of the 52-week period ended January 31, 2015; and all references to fiscal 2013 reflect the results of the 52-week period ended February 1, 2014. In addition, all references to fiscal 2016 reflect the 52-week period ending January 28, 2017.

We were incorporated in the State of New York in 1988 and reincorporated in the State of Delaware in October 2005. Our principal executive offices are located at 770 Broadway, New York, NY 10003, and our telephone number is (212) 209-2500.

On March 7, 2011, J.Crew Group, Inc. was acquired by affiliates of TPG Capital, L.P. (together with such affiliates, “TPG”) and Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. (“LGP” and together with TPG, the “Sponsors”) in a transaction, referred to as the “Acquisition,” valued at approximately $3.1 billion, including the incurrence of $1.6 billion of debt. As a result of the Acquisition, our stock is no longer publicly traded. Currently, the issued and outstanding shares of J.Crew Group, Inc. are indirectly owned by affiliates of the Sponsors, certain co-investors and members of management.

Brands and Merchandise

We project our brand image through consistent creative messaging in our store environments, websites and catalogs and with our superior customer service. We maintain our brand image by exercising substantial control over the design, production, presentation and pricing of our merchandise and primarily by selling our products ourselves. Senior management is extensively involved in all phases of our business including product design and sourcing, assortment planning, store selection and design, website experience and the selection of photography for each catalog.

J.Crew. Introduced in 1983, J.Crew offers a complete assortment of women’s and men’s apparel and accessories, including outerwear, suiting, casual attire, wedding and bridesmaids dresses, swimwear, shoes, handbags, belts, socks, jewelry and more. J.Crew offers products ranging from casual t-shirts and denim to limited edition “collection” items, such as hand-embellished sweaters and coats, Italian cashmere, limited edition prints and patterns, and vintage inspired details. We also offer a curated selection of other brands that we have partnered with offering unique, hard-to-find items consistent with our brand philosophy. J.Crew products are sold primarily through our J.Crew retail and factory stores and our J.Crew and factory websites. Our J.Crew catalog provides a branding and traffic-driving vehicle that supports all channels of distribution.

Introduced in 2006, crewcuts reflects the same high standard of quality, style and design that we offer under the J.Crew brand. Crewcuts offers a product assortment of apparel and accessories for the children’s market from infant to children’s size 14. Crewcuts products are sold through stand-alone retail and factory stores, shop-in-shops in our J.Crew retail and factory stores and our J.Crew and factory websites.

In fiscal 2015, we announced the J.Crew Mercantile store concept, which features a collection of value-driven merchandise with classic J.Crew style for women, men and children. The collection, previously available in our J.Crew factory stores and online, is now available at J.Crew Mercantile stores. Located in retail centers, J.Crew Mercantile stores make our factory assortment more accessible to customers.

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Madewell. Introduced in 2006, Madewell is a modern-day interpretation of a denim based clothing label originally founded in 1937. Madewell offers products exclusively for women, including perfect-fitting, heritage-inspired jeans and all the downtown-cool pieces to wear with them, from vintage-influenced tees, cardigans and blazers, to boots and jewelry. Madewell products are sold primarily through Madewell retail stores and our Madewell website.

A summary of our revenues by brand is as follows:

 

(in millions, except percentages)

  

Fiscal 2015

 

 

Fiscal 2014

 

 

Fiscal 2013

 

 

  

Amount

 

  

Percent of
Total

 

 

Amount

 

  

Percent of
Total

 

 

Amount

 

  

Percent of
Total

 

J.Crew

  

$

2,146.7

  

  

 

85.7

 

$

2,295.1

  

  

 

89.0

 

$

2,212.7

  

  

 

91.1

Madewell

  

 

301.0

  

  

 

12.0

  

 

 

245.3

  

  

 

9.5

  

 

 

181.4

  

  

 

7.5

  

Other(a)

  

 

58.1

  

  

 

2.3

  

 

 

39.3

  

  

 

1.5

  

 

 

34.2

  

  

 

1.4

  

Total

  

$

2,505.8

  

  

 

100.0

 

$

2,579.7

  

  

 

100.0

 

$

2,428.3

  

  

 

100.0

 

(a)

Consists primarily of shipping and handling fees and revenues from third-party resellers.

Stores

J.Crew Retail. Our J.Crew retail stores are located in upscale regional malls, lifestyle centers and street locations. Our retail stores are designed and fixtured with the goal of creating a distinctive, sophisticated and inviting atmosphere, with displays and information about product quality. We believe situating our stores in desirable locations is critical to the success of our business, and we determine store locations, as well as individual store sizes, based on geographic location, demographic information, presence of anchor tenants in mall locations and proximity to other high-end specialty retail stores. As of January 30, 2016, we operated 287 J.Crew retail stores (including eight crewcuts stores) throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and France.

Our J.Crew retail stores averaged approximately 6,200 total square feet as of January 30, 2016, but are “sized to the market,” which means that we adjust the size of a particular retail store based on the projected revenues from that particular store. Our retail stores range in size from a 21,000 square foot store in New York City to small crewcuts and men’s shops of approximately 900 square feet.

J.Crew Factory. Our J.Crew factory stores are located primarily in large outlet malls and are designed with simple, volume driving visuals to maximize the sale of key items. In fiscal 2015, we launched our J.Crew Mercantile store concept, which are located in traditionally full price retail malls and hybrid centers, and therefore make our factory assortment more accessible to customers. We design and develop a dedicated line of value-driven merchandise for our J.Crew factory stores, J.Crew Mercantile stores and jcrewfactory.com, inspired by classic J.Crew style. As of January 30, 2016, we operated 161 J.Crew factory stores (including three crewcuts factory stores and 10 J.Crew Mercantile stores) throughout the United States and Canada.

Our J.Crew factory stores averaged approximately 5,700 total square feet as of January 30, 2016, and are also “sized to the market.” Our factory stores range in size from a 10,300 square foot store in New York to a 1,500 square foot store in Florida.

Madewell. Our Madewell stores are located in upscale regional malls, lifestyle centers and street locations. Our Madewell store environments are carefully designed with the goal of capturing the look and feel of a downtown boutique, while reflecting high quality and sophistication. As of January 30, 2016, we operated 103 Madewell stores throughout the United States.

Our Madewell stores averaged approximately 3,500 total square feet as of January 30, 2016. Our Madewell stores range in size from a 9,600 square foot store in Washington, D.C. to a 2,500 square foot store in New York City.

 

 

 

 

 

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A summary of the number of stores that we operated over the past three fiscal years is as follows:

 

 

 

J.Crew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Retail

 

 

Factory(a)

 

 

Total

 

 

Madewell

 

  

Total

 

Fiscal 2013:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Beginning of year

  

 

247

  

 

 

106

  

 

 

353

  

 

 

48

 

  

 

401

  

New

  

 

19

  

 

 

15

  

 

 

34

  

 

 

17

 

  

 

51

  

Closed

  

 

(1

 

 

 

 

 

(1

 

 

 

  

 

(1

)  

End of year

  

 

265

  

 

 

121

  

 

 

386

  

 

 

65

 

  

 

451

  

Fiscal 2014:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Beginning of year

  

 

265

  

 

 

121

  

 

 

386

  

 

 

65

 

  

 

451

  

New

  

 

17

  

 

 

18

  

 

 

35

  

 

 

20

 

  

 

55

  

Closed

  

 

(2

 

 

 

 

 

(2

 

 

 

  

 

(2

)  

End of year

  

 

280

  

 

 

139

  

 

 

419

  

 

 

85

 

  

 

504

  

Fiscal 2015:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Beginning of year

  

 

280

  

 

 

139

  

 

 

419

  

 

 

85

 

  

 

504

  

New

  

 

11

  

 

 

22

  

 

 

33

  

 

 

18

 

  

 

51

  

Closed

  

 

(4

 

 

 

 

 

(4

 

 

 

  

 

(4

)  

End of year

  

 

287

  

 

 

161

  

 

 

448

  

 

 

103

 

  

 

551

  

 

(a)

Includes 10 J.Crew Mercantile stores at the end of fiscal 2015.

E-commerce

We also serve customers through our e-commerce business, which includes websites for the J.Crew, factory and Madewell brands. Our websites allow customers to purchase our merchandise over the Internet and include jcrew.com, jcrewfactory.com and madewell.com. We also use our websites to sell exclusive styles not available in stores, introduce and test new product offerings, offer extended sizes and colors on various products, and drive targeted marketing campaigns. Additionally, we utilize a third party to accept and fulfill website orders from customers in over 100 countries outside of the United States.

Financial Information about Segments

We have determined our operating segments on the same basis that we use to internally evaluate performance and allocate resources. Our operating segments align with our brands, J.Crew and Madewell, which have been aggregated into one reportable segment because they have similar class of consumers, economic characteristics, nature of products, nature of production and distribution methods.

Shared Resources That Support Our Brands

Design and Merchandising

On the basis of data collected from customers through our e-commerce business, we believe our customer base consists primarily of affluent, college-educated, professional and fashion-conscious women and men. We seek to appeal to our customers by creating high quality products that reflect our customers’ affluent and active lifestyles across a broad range of price points.

We believe one of our key strengths is our design team, which designs merchandise that reinforces our constantly evolving brands. Our collections are designed to reflect a clean and fashionable aesthetic that incorporates high quality fabrics and construction as well as consistent fits and detailing.

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Our products are developed in four seasonal collections and are rolled-out for monthly product introductions in our stores, on our websites and in our catalogs. The design process begins with our designers developing seasonal collections eight to 12 months in advance. Our designers regularly travel domestically and internationally to develop color and design ideas. Once the design team has developed a season’s color palette and design concepts, they order a sample assortment in order to evaluate the details of the collection, such as how color takes to a particular fabric. The design team then presents the collection to senior management. The presentation reflects the design team’s vision, from color direction and flow, to styling and silhouette evolution.

Our teams work closely with each other in order to leverage market data, ensure the quality of our products and remain true to our unified brand aesthetic and voice. Our technical design team develops construction and fit specifications for every product, ensuring quality workmanship and consistency across product lines.

Because our product offerings originate from a single concept assortment, we believe that we are able to efficiently offer an assortment of styles within each season’s line while still maintaining a unified vision. As a final step that is intended to ensure image consistency, our senior management reviews the full line of products for each season before they are manufactured.

Marketing and Advertising

As part of our omni-strategy, we communicate a consistent brand message across our stores, our websites, our catalogs, email marketing, online advertising, and our social media presence. Our core marketing objectives are structured to drive awareness and differentiation of our brands, increase new customer acquisition, maintain and build customer retention and loyalty, and build brand awareness globally. Our catalogs serve as an important branding vehicle to communicate to our customers. In fiscal 2015, we circulated approximately 2.9 billion catalog pages.

Digital marketing and social media have played an important part of our strategy in our recent history and are among our most effective marketing tools. Additionally, we have launched a redesigned and upgraded mobile responsive site, which features a more intuitive and user-friendly experience for shoppable content.  This launch supports our ongoing initiative to serve our customers with an integrated omni-channel shopping experience.

We offer a private-label credit card in our J.Crew brand which is issued and serviced by a third-party provider. In fiscal 2015, sales on the J.Crew credit card made up approximately 15% of our net sales. We believe that our credit card program encourages frequent store and website visits and promotes multiple-item purchases, thereby cultivating customer loyalty to the J.Crew brand and increasing sales. The J.Crew credit card offers rewards based on customer spend.

Sourcing

We source our merchandise in two ways: (i) through the use of buying agents, and (ii) by purchasing merchandise directly from trading companies and manufacturers. We have no long-term merchandise supply contracts, and we typically transact business on an order-by-order basis. In fiscal 2015, we worked with 11 buying agents, who supported our relationships with vendors that supplied approximately 63% of our merchandise, with one of these buying agents supporting our relationships with vendors that supplied approximately 49% of our merchandise. In exchange for a commission, our buying agents identify suitable vendors and coordinate our purchasing requirements with the vendors by placing orders for merchandise on our behalf, ensuring the timely delivery of goods to us, obtaining samples of merchandise produced in the factories, inspecting finished merchandise and carrying out other administrative communications on our behalf. In fiscal 2015, we worked with a number of trading companies, through which we purchased approximately 22% of our merchandise. Trading companies control factories that manufacture merchandise and also handle certain other shipping and customs matters related to importing the merchandise into the United States. We sourced the remaining 15% of our merchandise directly from manufacturers within the United States and overseas, the majority of whom we have long-term, and in our opinion, stable relationships.

Our sourcing base currently consists of 223 vendors who operate 381 factories in 25 countries. Our top 10 vendors supply 40% of our merchandise. Each of our top 10 vendors uses multiple factories to produce its merchandise, which we believe gives us a high degree of flexibility in placing production of our merchandise. We believe we have developed strong relationships with our vendors, some of which rely upon us for a significant portion of their business.

In fiscal 2015, approximately 87% of our merchandise was sourced in Asia (with 65% of our products sourced from China and Hong Kong), 11% was sourced in Europe and other regions, and 2% was sourced in the United States. Substantially all of our foreign purchases are negotiated and paid for in U.S. dollars.

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Distribution

We own a 282,000 square foot facility in Asheville, North Carolina that houses our distribution operations for our stores. This facility employs approximately 390 full and part-time associates during our non-peak season and approximately 30 additional associates during our peak season. Merchandise is transported from this distribution center to our stores by independent trucking companies, with a transit time of approximately two to five days.

We also own two facilities in Lynchburg, Virginia, including a 425,000 square foot facility and a 63,700 square foot facility. These facilities contain a customer call center and order fulfillment operations for our e-commerce business. The Lynchburg facilities employ approximately 1,290 full and part-time associates during our non-peak season and approximately 260 additional associates during our peak season. Merchandise sold through our e-commerce business is sent directly to customers from this distribution center or our stores via the United States Postal Service or UPS.

We lease a 45,800 square foot customer call center in San Antonio, Texas. This facility employs approximately 330 full and part-time associates during our non-peak season and approximately 70 additional associates during our peak season.

We also utilize a third party distribution center to support our international e-commerce business.

Management Information Systems

Our management information systems are designed to provide comprehensive order processing, production, accounting and management information for the marketing, manufacturing, importing, distribution and financial reporting functions of our business. We also have point-of-sale systems in our stores that enable us to track inventory from store receipt to final sale on a real-time basis. We have an agreement with a third party to provide hosting services and administrative support for portions of our infrastructure. In addition, our websites are hosted by a third party at its data center.

We believe our merchandising and financial systems, coupled with our point-of-sale systems and software programs, allow for item-level stock replenishment, merchandise planning and real-time inventory accounting practices. Our telephone and telemarketing systems, warehouse package sorting systems, automated warehouse locator and inventory bar coding systems use current technology, and are designed with our highest-volume periods in mind, which results in substantial flexibility and ample capacity in our lower-volume periods. We also subject our systems to stress tests during low-volume periods to ensure optimal performance during our peak season. We are investing significantly in expanding and upgrading our information systems including our omni-channel capabilities, networks and infrastructure to support future growth.

Pricing

We offer our customers a mix of select designer-quality products and more casual items at various price points, consistent with our signature styling strategy of pairing luxury items with more casual items. We offer limited edition “collection” items such as hand-embellished sweaters and coats, Italian cashmere, limited edition prints and patterns and vintage inspired details, which we believe elevates the overall perception of our brand. We believe offering a broad range of price points maintains a more accessible, less intimidating atmosphere.

Cyclicality and Seasonality

Our industry is cyclical and our revenues are affected by general economic conditions. Purchases of apparel and accessories are sensitive to a number of factors that influence the levels of consumer spending, including economic conditions and the level of disposable consumer income, consumer debt, interest rates, foreign currency exchange rates and consumer confidence.

Our business is seasonal and as a result, our revenues fluctuate from quarter to quarter. We have four distinct selling seasons that align with our four fiscal quarters. Revenues are usually higher in our fourth fiscal quarter, particularly December when customers make holiday purchases. In fiscal 2015, we realized approximately 28% of our revenues in the fourth fiscal quarter.

Competition

The specialty retail industry is highly competitive. We compete primarily with specialty retailers, department stores, catalog retailers and e-commerce businesses that engage in the sale of women’s, men’s and children’s apparel, accessories, shoes and similar merchandise. We compete on quality, design, customer service and price. We believe that our primary competitive advantages are consumer recognition of our brands, as well as our omni-channel strategy which focuses on a seamless approach to the customer experience through all available sales channels. We believe that we also differentiate ourselves from competitors on the basis of our signature product design, our ability to offer both designer-quality products at higher price points and more casual items at lower price

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points, our focus on the quality of our product offerings and our customer-service oriented culture. We believe our success depends in substantial part on our ability to originate and define product and fashion trends as well as to timely anticipate, gauge and react to changing consumer demands.

Associates

As of January 30, 2016, we had approximately 15,300 associates, of whom approximately 5,600 were full-time associates and 9,700 were part-time associates. Approximately 1,340 of these associates are employed in our customer call center and order fulfillment operations facilities in Lynchburg, Virginia; approximately 410 of these associates work in our store distribution center in Asheville, North Carolina; and approximately 350 of these associates work in our call center in San Antonio, Texas. In addition, approximately 3,900 associates are hired on a seasonal basis in these facilities and our stores to meet demand during the peak season. None of our associates are represented by a union. We have had no labor-related work stoppages and we believe our relationship with our associates is good.

Trademarks and Licensing

The J.Crew and Madewell trademarks and variations thereon, such as crewcuts and J.Crew Mercantile, are registered or are subject to pending trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and with the registries of many foreign countries. We believe our trademarks have significant value and we intend to continue to vigorously protect them against infringement.

Government Regulation

We are subject to customs, truth-in-advertising, consumer protection, employment, data privacy, product safety and other laws, including zoning and occupancy ordinances that regulate retailers and/or govern the promotion and sale of merchandise and the operation of retail stores and warehouse facilities. We monitor changes in these laws and believe that we are in material compliance with applicable laws.

A substantial portion of our products are manufactured outside the United States. These products are imported and are subject to U.S. customs laws, which impose tariffs as well as import quota restrictions for textiles and apparel. Some of our imported products are eligible for duty-advantaged programs. While importation of goods from foreign countries from which we buy our products may be subject to embargo by U.S. Customs authorities if shipments exceed quota limits, we closely monitor import quotas and believe we have the sourcing network to efficiently shift production to factories located in countries with available quotas. The existence of import quotas has, therefore, not had a material adverse effect on our business.

Available Information

We make available free of charge on our website, www.jcrew.com, copies of our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and all amendments to these reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), as soon as reasonably practicable after filing such material electronically with, or otherwise furnishing it to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). The reference to our website address does not constitute incorporation by reference of the information contained on the website, and the information contained on the website is not part of this document.

Copies of the reports and other information we file with the SEC may also be examined by the public without charge at 100 F Street, N.E., Room 1580, Washington, D.C. 20549, or at http://www.sec.gov. Copies of all or a portion of such materials can be obtained from the SEC upon payment of prescribed fees. Please call the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330 for further information.

 

ITEM  1A.

RISK FACTORS.

We face a variety of risks that are substantial and inherent in our business. The following are some of the more important risk factors that could affect our business.

Risks Related to Our Business and Our Industry

Unfavorable economic conditions could materially adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

Economic conditions around the world can impact our customers and affect the general business environment in which we operate and compete. Our results can be impacted by a number of macroeconomic factors, including, but not limited to, consumer

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confidence and spending levels, employment rates, consumer credit availability, fuel and energy costs, raw materials costs, global factory production, commercial real estate market conditions, credit market conditions, foreign currency exchange rates, interest rates, taxation, the level of customer traffic in malls and shopping centers and changing demographic patterns.

Demand for our merchandise is significantly impacted by negative trends in consumer confidence and other economic factors affecting consumer spending behavior. Because apparel and accessories generally are discretionary purchases, consumer purchases of our products may decline during recessionary periods or when disposable income is lower. As a result, our sales, growth and profitability may be adversely affected by unfavorable economic conditions at a regional, national or international level. In addition, unfavorable economic conditions abroad may impact our ability to meet quality and production goals.

Periods of economic uncertainty or volatility make it difficult to plan, budget and forecast our business. Incorrect assumptions concerning economic trends, customer requirements, distribution models, demand forecasts, interest rate trends and availability of resources may result in our failure to accurately forecast results and to achieve forecasted results or budget targets.

We believe that our current cash balance, cash flow from operations and availability under our senior secured credit facilities, provide us with sufficient liquidity. However, a decrease in liquidity of our customers and suppliers could have a material adverse effect on our cash flows, results of operations and liquidity.

The specialty retail industry is cyclical, and a decline in consumer spending on apparel and accessories could reduce our sales and slow our growth.

The industry in which we operate is cyclical. Purchases of apparel and accessories are sensitive to a number of factors that influence the levels of consumer spending, including general economic conditions and the level of disposable consumer income, the availability of consumer credit, interest rates, foreign exchange rates, taxation, consumer confidence in future economic conditions and demographic patterns. Because apparel and accessories generally are discretionary purchases, declines in consumer spending patterns may impact us more negatively as a specialty retailer. Therefore, we may not be able to grow revenues or increase profitability if there is a decline in consumer spending patterns or we decide to slow or alter our growth plans in anticipation of or in response to a decline in consumer spending.

We operate in the highly competitive specialty retail industry, and the size and resources of some of our competitors may allow them to compete more effectively than we can, which could result in loss of our market share.

We face intense competition in the specialty retail industry. We compete primarily with specialty retailers, department stores, catalog retailers and e-commerce businesses that engage in the sale of women’s, men’s and children’s apparel, accessories, and similar merchandise. We compete on quality, design, customer service and price. We are not in the “fast fashion” business but it appears that an increasing number of customers are attracted to the aggressive pricing strategies of those retailers.  Many of our competitors are, and many of our potential competitors may be, larger and have greater financial, marketing and other resources, devote greater resources to the marketing and sale of their products, generate greater international brand recognition or adopt more aggressive pricing policies than we can. A number of our competitors are continuing to operate a more promotional business than in the past, both in-store and online.  This promotional environment has negatively impacted our revenues and gross profit and may continue to do so in the future.  In addition, consumers are increasingly seeking retail experiences which emphasize value, personalization and an omni-channel environment where the store, mobile and online shopping experience is tightly integrated.  While we are working to meet these evolving customer expectations, there can be no assurance that we will do so effectively or without incurring substantial expense, which could impact our results of operations and liquidity.

The rapid pace of technological change may require us to incur costs to implement new systems and platforms in order to meet customer demand and to provide a desirable omni-channel shopping experience for our customers.

If we are unable to gauge fashion trends or react to changing consumer preferences in a timely manner, our sales will decrease.

We believe our success depends in substantial part on our ability to:

 

·

originate and define product and fashion trends,

 

·

anticipate, gauge and react to changing consumer demands in a timely manner, and

 

·

translate market trends into desirable, saleable products far in advance of their offerings in our stores, on our websites, and in our catalogs.

Because we enter into agreements for the manufacture and purchase of merchandise well in advance of the season in which merchandise will be sold, we are vulnerable to changes in consumer demand, pricing shifts and suboptimal merchandise selection and

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timing of merchandise purchases. We attempt to mitigate the risks of changing fashion trends and product acceptance in part by devoting a portion of our product line to classic styles that are not significantly modified from year to year. Nevertheless, if we misjudge the market for our products or overall level of consumer demand, we may be faced with significant excess inventories for some products and missed opportunities for others.  Our brands’ images may also suffer if customers believe we are no longer able to offer the latest fashions or if we fail to address and respond to customer feedback or complaints. The occurrence of these events, among others, could hurt our financial results and liquidity by decreasing sales. We may respond by increasing markdowns or initiating marketing promotions to reduce excess inventory, which would further decrease our gross profits and net income.

We rely on the experience and skills of key personnel, the loss of whom could damage our brands’ images and our ability to sell our merchandise.

We believe we have benefited substantially from the leadership and strategic guidance of our chief executive officer, as well as other key executives and members of our creative team, who are primarily responsible for executing our strategy. The loss, for any reason, of the services of any of these individuals and any negative market or industry perception arising from such loss could damage our brands’ images. Our executive and creative teams have substantial experience and expertise in the specialty retail industry and have made significant contributions to our growth and success. The unexpected loss of one or more of these individuals could delay the development and introduction of, and harm our ability to sell, our merchandise. In addition, products we develop without the guidance and direction of these key personnel may not receive the same level of acceptance.

Our success depends in part on our ability to attract and retain key personnel. Competition for this experienced talent is intense, and we may not be able to attract and retain a sufficient number of qualified personnel in the future.

Our expanded product offerings, new sales channels, new brands and concepts and plans to expand internationally may not be successful, and implementation of these strategies may divert our operational, managerial, financial and administrative resources, which could impact our competitive position.

We have grown our business in recent years by expanding our product offerings and sales channels, including by marketing our Madewell brand of women’s apparel and accessories and launching J.Crew Mercantile. Since 2011, we have opened stores in Canada, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and France and expanded our international shipping. In fiscal 2015, we launched our J.Crew Mercantile store concept, which are located in traditionally full price retail malls and hybrid centers, and therefore make our factory assortment more accessible to customers. These strategies to expand new brands and concepts and to expand internationally involve various risks discussed elsewhere in these risk factors, including:

 

·

implementation may be delayed or may not be successful,

 

·

if our expanded product offerings and sales channels or our international growth efforts fail to maintain and enhance the distinctive identity of our brands, our brands’ images may be diminished and our sales may decrease,

 

·

if customers (domestic or international) do not respond to these brands and concepts, product offerings and sales channels as anticipated, these strategies may not be profitable on a larger scale, and

 

·

implementation of these plans may divert management’s attention from other aspects of our business, increase costs and place a strain on our management, operational and financial resources, as well as our information systems.

In addition, our new product offerings, new brands and concepts, new sales channels and international expansion may be affected by, among other things, economic, demographic and competitive conditions, changes in consumer spending patterns and changes in consumer preferences and style trends. Further rollout of these strategies could be delayed or abandoned, could cost more than anticipated and could divert resources from other areas of our business, any of which could impact our competitive position and reduce our revenue and profitability.

Our growth strategy depends on the successful execution of our efforts to grow our brands, develop our omni-channel shopping experience and expand internationally.

Our customers are seeking an omni-channel shopping experience through the integration of store and digital shopping channels.  We have implemented systems that allow us to manage our inventory efficiently across all channels and to ship merchandise from stores to customers. We have enhanced our mobile experience and we continue to explore additional capabilities that will broaden our omni-channel experience, including order online and pick up in the store, and various capacity and efficiency enhancements. However, these initiatives involve significant investments in IT systems and significant operational changes.  In addition, our competitors are also investing in omni-channel capabilities, some of which may be more successful than our initiatives.  If we do not implement and expand our omni-channel initiatives successfully or we do not realize our anticipated return on these investments, then our operating results could be negatively impacted and we could fail to meet our strategic and financial goals.

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Our growth strategy also includes international expansion. Since 2011, we opened stores in Canada, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and France and expanded our online presence to over 100 countries. We may open stores in additional countries in the future, including other locations in Asia and Europe, where brand recognition may be limited. We do not have experience operating in these regions and we will face established competition in most of these markets. Many of these countries have different operational and legal requirements, including, but not limited to, employment and labor, transportation, logistics, real estate, product labelling, product safety, consumer protection, data privacy and local reporting requirements. Consumer tastes, sizes and trends may differ from country to country and there may be seasonal differences, which, if we do not anticipate, may result in lower sales and/or margins for our products. Our success internationally could also be adversely impacted by the global economy, fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, changes in diplomatic or trade relationships, political instability and foreign government regulation.

In addition, as we continue to expand our overseas operations, we are subject to certain U.S. laws, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, in addition to the laws of the foreign countries in which we operate. We must use all commercially reasonable efforts to ensure our associates and agents comply with these laws. If any of our associates or agents violate such laws we could become subject to sanctions or other penalties that could negatively affect our reputation, business and operating results.

As we execute our growth strategies, we may not adequately manage the related organizational changes needed for successful execution.  In addition, we may distract key resources related to our core business as a result of the focus on omni-channel growth and international expansion.

Any material disruption of our information systems could disrupt our business and reduce our sales.

We are increasingly dependent on information systems to operate our websites, process transactions, respond to customer inquiries, manage inventory, purchase, sell and ship goods on a timely basis and maintain cost-efficient operations. Previously, we have experienced interruptions resulting from upgrades to certain of our information systems which temporarily impaired our ability to capture, process and ship customer orders, and transfer product between channels. We may experience operational problems with our information systems as a result of system failures, viruses, computer “hackers” or other causes. Any material disruption or slowdown of our systems, including a disruption or slowdown caused by our failure to successfully upgrade our systems, could cause information, including data related to customer orders, to be lost or delayed which could—especially if the disruption or slowdown occurred during the holiday season—result in delays in the delivery of merchandise to our stores and customers or lost sales, which could reduce demand for our merchandise and cause our sales to decline. Moreover, we may not be successful in developing or acquiring technology that is competitive and responsive to the needs of our customers and might lack sufficient resources to make the necessary investments in technology to compete with our competitors. Accordingly, if changes in technology cause our information systems to become obsolete, or if our information systems are inadequate to handle our growth, we could lose customers.

We devote substantial resources to online marketing. In addition to changing consumer preferences and buying trends relating to online usage, we are vulnerable to certain additional risks and uncertainties associated with the Internet, including changes in required technology interfaces, website downtime and other technical failures, security breaches, and consumer privacy concerns. Our failure to successfully respond to these risks and uncertainties could reduce sales, increase costs and damage the reputation of our brands. Data privacy and information security is regulated at the international, federal and state levels, and compliance with any changes in the laws and regulations enacted by these governments will likely increase the cost of doing business.

Management uses information systems to support decision making and to monitor business performance. We may fail to generate accurate and complete financial and operational reports essential for making decisions at various levels of management, which could lead to decisions being made that have adverse results. Failure to adopt systematic procedures to initiate change requests, test changes, document changes, and authorize changes to systems and processes prior to deployment may result in unsuccessful changes and could disrupt our business and reduce sales. In addition, if we do not maintain adequate controls such as reconciliations, segregation of duties and verification to prevent errors or incomplete information, our ability to operate our business could be limited.

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Compromises of our data security could cause us to incur unexpected expenses and loss of revenues and may materially harm our reputation and business.

In the ordinary course of our business, we collect and store certain personal information from individuals, such as our customers and employees, and we process customer payment card and check information.  We rely on commercially available systems, software, tools and monitoring to provide security for processing, transmission and storage of confidential information. There can be no assurance that we will not suffer a data compromise, that unauthorized parties will not gain access to personal information, or that any such data compromise or access will be discovered in a timely way. Further, the systems currently used for transmission and approval of payment card transactions, and the technology utilized in payment cards themselves, all of which can put payment card data at risk, are determined and controlled by the payment card industry, not by us. Computer hackers may attempt to penetrate our computer system and, if successful, misappropriate personal information, payment card or check information or confidential business information of our Company. In addition, there may be non-technical issues, such as our employees, contractors or third parties with whom we do business or to whom we outsource business operations may attempt to circumvent our security measures in order to misappropriate such information, and may purposefully or inadvertently cause a breach involving such information. Advances in computer and software capabilities, new tools and other developments may increase the risk of such a breach.

Compromise of our data security or of third parties with whom we do business, failure to prevent or mitigate the loss of personal or business information and delays in detecting or providing prompt notice of any such compromise or loss could disrupt our operations, damage our reputation and customers’ willingness to shop in our stores, violate applicable laws, regulations, orders and agreements, and subject us to litigation and additional costs and liabilities which could be material.

If we fail to maintain the value of our brands and protect our trademarks, our sales are likely to decline.

Our success depends on the value of the J.Crew and Madewell brands and our corporate reputation. The J.Crew and Madewell names are integral to our business as well as to the implementation of our strategies for expanding our business. Maintaining, promoting and positioning our brands will depend largely on the success of our marketing and merchandising efforts and our ability to provide a consistent, high quality customer experience. Our brands could be adversely affected if we fail to achieve these objectives or if our public image or reputation were to be tarnished by negative publicity. Any of these events could result in decreases in sales.

The J.Crew and Madewell trademarks and variations thereon, such as crewcuts and J.Crew Mercantile, are valuable assets that are critical to our success. We intend to continue to vigorously protect our trademarks against infringement, but we may not be successful in doing so. The unauthorized reproduction or other misappropriation of our trademarks would diminish the value of our brands, which could reduce demand for our products or the prices at which we can sell our products.

Our real estate strategy may not be successful, and new store locations may fail to produce desired results, which could impact our competitive position and profitability.

We expanded our store base by 47 net new stores in fiscal 2015. We regularly evaluate our existing store base and seek to identify opportunities, where available, to renegotiate the terms of those leases. The success of our business depends, in part, on our ability to open new stores and renew our existing store leases on terms that meet our financial targets. Our ability to open new stores on schedule or at all, to renew our existing store leases on favorable terms or to operate them on a profitable basis will depend on various factors, including our ability to:

 

·

identify suitable markets for new stores and available store locations,

 

·

anticipate the impact of changing economic and demographic conditions for new and existing store locations,

 

·

negotiate acceptable lease terms for new locations or renewal terms for existing locations,

 

·

hire and train qualified sales associates,

 

·

develop new merchandise and manage inventory effectively to meet the needs of new and existing stores on a timely basis,

 

·

foster current relationships and develop new relationships with vendors that are capable of supplying a greater volume of merchandise, and

 

·

avoid construction delays and cost overruns in connection with the build-out of new stores.

New stores and stores with renewed lease terms may not produce anticipated levels of revenue even though they increase our costs. As a result, our expenses as a percentage of sales would increase and our profitability would be adversely affected.

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Reductions in the volume of mall traffic or closing of shopping malls as a result of unfavorable economic conditions or changing demographic patterns could significantly reduce our sales and leave us with excess inventory.

Most of our stores are located in shopping malls or outlet centers. Sales at these stores are derived, in part, from the volume of traffic in those locations. Our stores benefit from the ability of the malls’ “anchor” tenants, generally large department stores and other area attractions, to generate consumer traffic in the vicinity of our stores and the continuing popularity of the malls as shopping destinations. Unfavorable economic conditions, particularly in certain regions, have adversely affected mall traffic and resulted in the closing of certain anchor stores and has threatened the viability of certain commercial real estate firms which operate major shopping malls. A continuation of this trend, including failure of a large commercial landlord or continued declines in the popularity of mall shopping generally among our customers, would reduce our sales and leave us with excess inventory. We may respond by increasing markdowns or initiating marketing promotions to reduce excess inventory, which would further decrease our gross profits and net income.

Our inability to maintain or increase levels of comparable company sales could cause our earnings to decline.

If our future comparable company sales fail to meet expectations, our earnings could decline. In addition, our results have significantly fluctuated in the past and can be expected to continue to fluctuate in the future. For example, in the previous three fiscal years, our quarterly comparable company sales changes have ranged from an increase of 5.5% to a decrease of 11.4%. A variety of factors affect comparable company sales, including fashion trends, competition, current economic conditions, pricing, inflation, the timing of the release of new merchandise and promotional events, changes in our merchandise mix, the success of marketing programs, timing and level of markdowns and weather conditions.

In addition, the economic environment and the resulting softening apparel demand has led to a more promotional environment across the specialty retail industry, which has impacted our promotional posture and our gross margins. In addition, this promotional pricing may have a negative effect on our brands’ images, which may be difficult to counteract even as the economy improves.

Over the past several years, various regions of the country have experienced extreme weather patterns.  Significant amounts of snow, wind, ice, flooding and other weather elements have caused and may continue to cause a greater number of store closures or lost revenue than we have historically experienced.

All of these factors may cause our comparable company sales to be materially lower than previous periods and our expectations, which could impact our ability to leverage fixed expenses, such as store rent and store asset depreciation, which may adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations.

Interruption in our foreign sourcing operations could disrupt production, shipment or receipt of our merchandise, which would result in lost sales and could increase our costs.

We do not own or operate any manufacturing facilities and therefore depend upon independent third party vendors for the manufacture of all of our products. Our products are manufactured to our specifications primarily by factories outside of the United States. We cannot control all of the various factors, which include inclement weather, natural disasters, political and financial instability, strikes, health concerns regarding infectious diseases, and acts of terrorism that might affect a manufacturer’s ability to ship orders of our products in a timely manner or to meet our quality standards. Inadequate labor conditions, health or safety issues in the factories where goods are produced can negatively impact our brands reputations. Late delivery of products or delivery of products that do not meet our quality standards could cause us to miss the delivery date requirements of our customers or delay timely delivery of merchandise to our stores for those items. These events could cause us to fail to meet customer expectations, cause our customers to cancel orders or cause us to be unable to deliver merchandise in sufficient quantities or of sufficient quality to our stores, which could result in lost sales.

In fiscal 2015, approximately 98% of our merchandise was sourced from foreign factories. In particular, approximately 65% of our merchandise was sourced from China and Hong Kong. Any event causing a sudden disruption of manufacturing or imports from Asia or elsewhere, including the imposition of additional import restrictions, could materially harm our operations. We have no long-term merchandise supply contracts, and many of our imports are subject to existing or potential duties, tariffs or quotas that may limit the quantity of certain types of goods that may be imported into the United States from countries in Asia or elsewhere. We compete with other companies for production facilities and import quota capacity. While substantially all of our foreign purchases of our products are negotiated and paid for in U.S. dollars, the cost of our products may be affected by fluctuations in the value of relevant foreign currencies. Our business is also subject to a variety of other risks generally associated with doing business abroad, such as political instability, economic conditions, disruption of imports by labor disputes and local business practices.

In addition, to the manufacturing in China, we are also engaging in growing the amount of production in other developing countries. These other countries may present greater risks than China with regards to infrastructure to support manufacturing, labor

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and employee relations, political and economic stability, corruption, environmental, health and safety compliance. While we endeavor to monitor and audit facilities where our production is done, any significant events with factories we use can adversely impact our reputation, brand, and product delivery.

Increases in the demand for, or the price of, raw materials used to manufacture our products or other fluctuations in sourcing or distribution costs could increase our costs and hurt our profitability.

The raw materials used to manufacture our products are subject to availability constraints and price volatility caused by high demand for fabrics, weather, supply conditions, government regulations, economic climate and other unpredictable factors. In addition, our sourcing costs may also fluctuate due to labor conditions, transportation or freight costs, energy prices, currency fluctuations or other unpredictable factors. Further, the cost of labor at many of our third party manufacturers and the cost of transportation have been increasing and it is unlikely that such cost pressures will abate.

Most of our products are shipped from our vendors by ocean.  If a disruption occurs in the operation of ports through which our products are imported, we may incur increased costs related to air freight or to alternative ports.  Shipping by air is significantly more expensive than shipping by ocean and our margins and profitability could be reduced.  Shipping to alternative ports could also lead to delays in receipt of our products.

We believe that we have strong vendor relationships and we are working with our suppliers to manage cost increases. Our overall profitability depends, in part, on the success of our ability to mitigate rising costs or shortages of raw materials used to manufacture our products.

Any significant interruption in the operations of our customer call, order fulfillment and distribution facilities could disrupt our ability to process customer orders and to deliver our merchandise in a timely manner.

A substantial portion of our e-commerce order fulfillment operations are housed in a single facility along with one of our customer call centers, while distribution operations for our stores are housed in another single facility. Although we maintain back-up systems for these facilities and have a contract with a third party distribution center for our international e-commerce business, we may not be able to prevent a significant interruption in our operations if one or both of these facilities were impacted by a natural disaster, accident, failure of the inventory locator or automated packing and shipping systems we use or other events. We have experienced some interruptions in the past in connection with our website systems and while we have stabilized these systems, there can be no assurance that future interruptions will not occur. Any significant interruption in the operation of these facilities, including an interruption caused by our failure to successfully expand or upgrade our systems or manage our transition to utilizing the expansions or upgrades, could reduce our ability to receive and process orders and provide products and services to our stores and customers, which could result in lost sales, cancelled sales and a loss of loyalty to our brand.

Third party failure to deliver merchandise to our distribution centers, stores and customers or a disruption or adverse condition affecting our distribution centers could result in lost sales or reduced demand for our merchandise.

Our success depends on the timely receipt of merchandise from our vendors to our distribution centers, and timely delivery of merchandise from our distribution facilities to stores and customers. Independent third party transportation companies deliver our merchandise to our distribution centers, stores and customers. Some of these third parties employ personnel represented by labor unions. Disruptions in the delivery of merchandise or work stoppages by employees of these third parties could delay the timely receipt of merchandise, which could result in cancelled sales, a loss of loyalty to our brands, increased logistics costs and excess inventory.

We currently operate two of our own distribution centers in North Carolina and Virginia. Timely receipt of merchandise by our distribution centers, stores and customers may also be affected by factors such as inclement weather, natural disasters, accidents, system failures and acts of terrorism. We may respond by increasing markdowns or initiating marketing promotions, which would decrease our gross profits and net income. Inability to recover from a business interruption and return to normal operations within a reasonable period of time could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and damage our brand reputation.

Our ability to source our merchandise profitably or at all could be hurt if new trade restrictions are imposed, existing trade restrictions become more burdensome or disruption occur at our suppliers or at the ports.

Trade restrictions, including increased tariffs, safeguards or quotas, on apparel and accessories could increase the cost or reduce the supply of merchandise available to us. We source our merchandise through buying agents and by purchasing directly from trading companies and manufacturers, predominately in Asia. There are quotas and trade restrictions on certain categories of goods and apparel from China and countries that are not subject to the World Trade Organization Agreement, which could have a significant impact on our sourcing patterns in the future. New initiatives may be proposed that may have an impact on our sourcing from certain

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countries and may include retaliatory duties or other trade sanctions that, if enacted, would increase the cost of products we purchase. We cannot predict whether any of the countries in which our merchandise is currently manufactured or may be manufactured in the future will be subject to additional trade restrictions imposed by the U.S. and foreign governments, nor can we predict the likelihood, type or effect of any such restrictions. Trade restrictions, including increased tariffs or quotas, embargoes, safeguards and customs restrictions against apparel items could increase the cost, delay shipping or reduce the supply of apparel available to us or may require us to modify our current business practices, any of which could hurt our profitability.

We rely on our suppliers to manufacture and ship the products they produce for us in a timely manner.  We also rely on the free flow of goods through open and operational ports worldwide.  Labor disputes at various ports or at our suppliers could increase costs for us and delay our receipt of merchandise, particularly if these disputes result in work slowdowns, lockouts, strikes or other disruptions.

If our independent manufacturers do not use ethical business practices or comply with applicable laws and regulations, our brands could be harmed due to negative publicity.

While our internal and vendor operating guidelines, as outlined in our Vendor Code of Conduct, promote ethical business practices and we, along with third parties that we retain for this purpose, monitor compliance with those guidelines, we do not control our independent manufacturers. Accordingly, we cannot guarantee their compliance with our guidelines. Our Vendor Code of Conduct is designed to ensure that each of our suppliers’ operations is conducted in a legal, ethical, and responsible manner. Our Vendor Code of Conduct requires that each of our suppliers operates in compliance with applicable wage benefit, working hours and other local laws, and forbids the use of practices such as child labor or forced labor.

Violation of labor or other laws by our independent manufacturers, or the divergence of an independent manufacturer’s practices from those generally accepted as ethical in the United States could diminish the value of the J.Crew and Madewell brands and reduce demand for our merchandise if, as a result of such violation, we were to attract negative publicity.

We are subject to customs, advertising, consumer protection, data privacy, product safety, zoning and occupancy and labor and employment laws that could require us to modify our current business practices, incur increased costs or harm our reputation if we do not comply.

We are subject to numerous laws and regulations, including customs, truth-in-advertising, consumer protection, general data privacy, health information privacy, identity theft, online privacy, product safety, unsolicited commercial communication and zoning and occupancy laws and ordinances that regulate retailers generally and/or govern the importation, promotion and sale of merchandise and the operation of retail stores and warehouse facilities. If these regulations were to change or were violated by our management, associates, suppliers, buying agents or trading companies, the costs of certain goods could increase, or we could experience delays in shipments of our goods, be subject to fines or penalties, or suffer reputational harm, which could reduce demand for our merchandise and hurt our business and results of operations. Failure to protect personally identifiable information of our customers or associates could subject us to considerable reputational harm as well as significant fines, penalties and sanctions. In addition, changes in federal and state minimum wage laws and other laws relating to employee benefits could cause us to incur additional wage and benefits costs, which could hurt our profitability.

Legal requirements frequently change and are subject to interpretation, and we are unable to predict the ultimate cost of compliance with these requirements or their effect on our operations. Failure to define clear roles and responsibilities or to regularly communicate with and train our associates may result in noncompliance with applicable laws and regulations. We may be required to make significant expenditures or modify our business practices to comply with existing or future laws and regulations, which may increase our costs and materially limit our ability to operate our business. We expect the costs of compliance and risks to our business in this area to increase as we expand our international and e-commerce business.

Our financial results could be adversely impacted by currency exchange rate fluctuations.

Although our international revenues are a small percentage of our business, we expect they will increase as we execute our long-term strategy.  As a result, our future revenues and results of operations could be impacted by changes in foreign currency exchange rates.  Revenues and certain expenses in markets outside the United States are recognized in local foreign currencies, and we are exposed to potential gains or losses from the translation of those amounts into U.S. dollars for consolidation into our financial statements.  In addition, our international subsidiaries transact in currencies other than their functional currency, primarily in respect of inventory purchases denominated in U.S. dollars, which could result in foreign currency transaction gains or losses.  Finally, our vendors and suppliers may also be impacted by currency exchange rate fluctuations with respect to the purchase of fabric and other raw materials.

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Fluctuations in our results of operations for the fourth fiscal quarter would have a disproportionate effect on our overall financial condition and results of operations.

Our revenues are generally lower during the first and second fiscal quarters. In addition, any factors that harm our fourth fiscal quarter operating results, including adverse weather or unfavorable economic conditions, could have a disproportionate effect on our results of operations for the entire fiscal year.

In order to prepare for our peak shopping season, we must order and keep in stock significantly more merchandise than we would carry at other times of the year. Any unanticipated decrease in demand for our products during our peak shopping season could require us to sell excess inventory at a substantial markdown, which could reduce our net sales and gross profit. Additional unplanned decreases in demand for our products could produce further reductions to our net sales and gross profit.

Our quarterly results of operations may also fluctuate significantly as a result of a variety of other factors, including the timing of new store openings and of catalog mailings and the revenues contributed by new stores, merchandise mix and the timing and level of inventory markdowns. As a result, historical period-to-period comparisons of our revenues and operating results are not necessarily indicative of future period-to-period results.

We have recognized substantial goodwill and intangible asset impairment losses in the current fiscal year and may be required to recognize additional non-cash impairment losses in the future.

During fiscal 2015, we recorded non-cash impairment charges of $1,382 million related to goodwill allocated to our J.Crew reporting unit, the intangible asset for our J.Crew trade name and certain long-lived assets. After recording the impairment losses in fiscal 2015, the carrying value of our goodwill and the intangible asset for the J.Crew trade name is $108 million and $380 million, respectively. Certain factors, including consumer spending levels, industry and macroeconomic conditions, and the future profitability of our businesses, might have a negative impact on the carrying value of our goodwill, intangible assets and fixed assets. We could experience material impairment losses in the future. Although an impairment charge would be a non-cash expense, any impairment charges could materially increase our expenses and reduce our profitability. The process of testing goodwill and intangible assets for impairment involves numerous judgments, assumptions and estimates made by management including expected future profitability, cash flows and the fair values of assets and liabilities, which inherently reflect a high degree of uncertainty and may be affected by significant variability.  If the business climate deteriorates, then actual results may not be consistent with these judgments, assumptions and estimates, and our goodwill and intangible assets may become impaired in future periods.  This would in turn have an adverse impact on our financial position and results of operations.

We may be a party to legal proceedings in the future that could adversely affect our business.

From time to time, like others in the retail industry, we are a party to legal proceedings, including matters involving personnel and employment issues, personal injury, intellectual property, consumer protection, consumer accessibility and other proceedings arising in the ordinary course of business. In addition, there are an increasing number of cases being filed in the retail industry, including those that we have been subject to or may be subject to in the future, that contain class and representative action allegations, such as those relating to data privacy and wage and hour laws. We evaluate our exposure to these legal proceedings and establish reserves for the estimated liabilities in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Assessing and predicting the outcome of these matters involves substantial uncertainties. Although not currently anticipated by management, unexpected outcomes in these legal proceedings, or changes in management’s evaluations or predictions and accompanying changes in established reserves, could have a material adverse impact on our financial results.

We could be subject to changes in our tax rates and the adoption of new U.S. or international tax legislation or exposed to additional tax liabilities in connection with our international expansion, which could negatively impact our financial results.

We are subject to taxes in the U.S. and with our international expansion we have become subject to taxes in foreign jurisdictions where our international subsidiaries are organized. Due to economic and political conditions, tax rates in various jurisdictions may be subject to significant change. Our future effective tax rates could be affected by changes in the mix of earnings in countries with differing statutory tax rates, changes in the valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities, or changes in tax laws or their interpretation, including in the U.S. We are also subject to the examination of our tax returns and other tax matters by the Internal Revenue Service and other tax authorities and governmental bodies. We regularly assess the likelihood of an adverse outcome resulting from these examinations to determine the adequacy of our provision for taxes. There can be no assurance as to the outcome of these examinations. If our effective tax rates were to increase, particularly in the U.S., or if the ultimate determination of our taxes owed is for an amount in excess of amounts previously accrued, then our operating results, cash flows, and financial condition could be adversely affected.

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Risks Related to Our Indebtedness and Certain Other Obligations

Our substantial indebtedness and lease obligations could adversely affect our ability to raise additional capital to fund our operations and make strategic investments, limit our ability to react to changes in the economy or our industry, expose us to interest rate risk to the extent of our variable rate debt and prevent us from meeting our obligations under our indebtedness.

We are highly leveraged. The total indebtedness of J.Crew and its subsidiaries at January 30, 2016 was $1,540 million, consisting of borrowings under our term loan credit facility, as amended and restated on March 5, 2014 (the “Term Loan Facility”). We can also borrow up to $350 million under our senior secured asset-based revolving line of credit, dated as of March 7, 2011 (as amended through and including December 17, 2015, the “ABL Facility”, and together with our Term Loan Facility, the “Senior Credit Facilities”), subject to a borrowing base limitation. As of January 30, 2016, our Senior Credit Facilities also allowed uncommitted incremental facilities in an aggregate amount of $225 million consisting of $200 million available as incremental term loan facilities and $25 million available as increased commitments under our ABL Facility. Additional incremental term loan facilities are permitted subject to our meeting certain conditions, including a pro forma total senior secured leverage ratio of less than or equal to 3.75 to 1.00.

 

On November 4, 2013, Chinos Intermediate Holdings A, Inc. (the “Issuer”), an indirect parent holding company of Group, issued $500 million aggregate principal of 7.75/8.50% Senior PIK Toggle Notes due May 1, 2019 (the “PIK Notes”).  The PIK Notes are (i) senior unsecured obligations of the Issuer, (ii) structurally subordinated to all of the liabilities of the Issuer’s subsidiaries, and (iii) not guaranteed by any of the Issuer’s subsidiaries, and therefore are not recorded in our financial statements. In fiscal 2015, we paid dividends of $38 million in the aggregate to the Issuer to fund the semi-annual interest payments due May 1, 2015 and November 1, 2015.

 

On October 30, 2015, the Issuer delivered notice to U.S. Bank N.A., as trustee, under the indenture governing the PIK Notes, that with respect to the interest that will be due on such notes on the May 2, 2016 interest payment date, the Issuer will make such interest payment by paying in kind at the PIK interest rate of 8.50% instead of paying in cash.  The PIK election will increase the outstanding principal balance of the PIK Notes by $21.3 million to $521.3 million. Therefore, we will not pay a dividend to the Issuer in the first quarter of fiscal 2016. Pursuant to the terms of the indenture governing the PIK Notes, the Issuer intends to evaluate this option prior to the beginning of each interest period based on relevant factors at that time.

 

We and our subsidiaries, affiliates, Parent, Sponsors or affiliates of our Sponsors may from time to time seek to retire or purchase, directly or indirectly, our outstanding indebtedness, including the PIK Notes, through cash purchases and/or exchanges, in open market purchases, privately negotiated transactions, by tender offer or otherwise. Such purchases and/or exchanges, if any, will depend on prevailing market conditions, liquidity requirements, contractual restrictions and other factors. The amounts involved may be material, which could impact our capital structure, the market for our debt securities, the price of the indebtedness being purchased and/or exchanged and affect our liquidity.

We also have, and will continue to have, significant lease obligations. As of January 30, 2016, our minimum annual rental obligations under long-term operating leases for fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017 are $183 million and $177 million, respectively.

Our high degree of leverage and significant lease obligations could have important consequences for our creditors. For example, they could:

 

·

limit our ability to obtain additional financing for working capital (including vendor payment terms), capital expenditures, debt service requirements, acquisitions and general corporate or other purposes;

 

·

restrict us from making strategic investments or cause us to make non-strategic divestitures;

 

·

limit our ability to adjust to changing market conditions and place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors who are not as highly leveraged;

 

·

increase our vulnerability to general economic and industry conditions;

 

·

require a substantial portion of our cash flow to be dedicated to the payment of principal and interest on our indebtedness (including any dividends to the Issuer to fund interest payments), thereby reducing our ability to use our cash flow to fund our operations, capital expenditures and future strategic initiatives.

We expect to pay interest of approximately $73 million in fiscal 2016, excluding any payments of dividends to the Issuer to fund debt service obligations.

17


 

Our debt agreements contain restrictions that limit our flexibility in operating our business.

The Senior Credit Facilities contain various covenants that limit the ability of J.Crew and our other subsidiaries to engage in specified types of transactions. These covenants limit our ability and the ability of J.Crew, Chinos Intermediate Holdings B, Inc. (“Intermediate Holdings B”) and our restricted subsidiaries to, among other things:

 

·

incur or guarantee additional debt;

 

·

pay dividends, including those paid to the Issuer to fund debt service obligations, or distributions on our capital stock or redeem, repurchase or retire our capital stock or indebtedness;

 

·

issue stock of subsidiaries;

 

·

make certain investments, loans, advances and acquisitions;

 

·

create liens on our assets to secure debt;

 

·

enter into transactions with affiliates;

 

·

merge or consolidate with another company; and

 

·

sell or otherwise transfer assets.

In addition, under our Senior Credit Facilities, we are required to meet specified financial ratios in order to undertake certain actions, and under the ABL Facility in certain circumstances, we may be required to maintain certain levels of excess availability or meet a specified fixed charge coverage ratio. Our ability to meet those tests can be affected by events beyond our control, and we cannot assure you that we will meet them. A breach of any of these covenants could result in a default under the Senior Credit Facilities. Upon the occurrence of an event of default under the Senior Credit Facilities, the lenders could elect to declare all amounts outstanding under the Senior Credit Facilities to be immediately due and payable and terminate all commitments to extend further credit. If we were unable to repay those amounts, the lenders under the Senior Credit Facilities could proceed against the collateral granted to them to secure such indebtedness. Intermediate Holdings B, J.Crew and certain of J.Crew’s subsidiaries have pledged substantially all of their assets, including, in the case of Intermediate Holdings B, a pledge of the capital stock of J.Crew, as collateral under the Senior Credit Facilities. If the lenders under the Senior Secured Credit Facilities accelerate the repayment of borrowings, we may not have sufficient assets to repay the Senior Credit Facilities, as well as our other secured and unsecured indebtedness.

To service our indebtedness, we will require a significant amount of cash and our ability to generate cash depends on many factors beyond our control.

Our ability to make cash payments on and to refinance our indebtedness and to fund working capital and planned capital expenditures will depend on our ability to generate sufficient operating cash flow in the future. This ability is, to a significant extent, subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative, regulatory and other factors that are beyond our control.

Our business may not generate sufficient cash flow from operations, and future borrowings may not be available under our Senior Credit Facilities, in an amount sufficient to enable us to pay our indebtedness, or to fund our other liquidity needs. In any such circumstance, we may need to refinance all or a portion of our indebtedness. We may not be able to refinance any of our indebtedness, including our Senior Credit Facilities, on commercially reasonable terms or at all. If we cannot service our indebtedness, we may have to take actions such as selling assets, seeking additional equity or reducing or delaying capital expenditures, strategic acquisitions and investments. Any such action, if necessary, may not be effected on commercially reasonable terms or at all. The credit agreements governing our Senior Credit Facilities contain restrictions on our ability to sell certain assets and limit the use of the proceeds from such sales.

If we are unable to generate sufficient cash flow or are otherwise unable to obtain funds necessary to meet required payments of principal, premium, if any, and interest on our indebtedness, or if we otherwise fail to comply with the various covenants in the instruments governing our indebtedness (including covenants in our Senior Credit Facilities), we could be in default under the terms of the agreements governing such indebtedness. In the event of such default, the holders of such indebtedness could elect to declare all the funds borrowed thereunder to be due and payable, together with accrued and unpaid interest, the lenders under our Senior Credit Facilities could elect to terminate their commitments thereunder, cease making further loans and institute foreclosure proceedings against our assets, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation. If we breach our covenants under the credit agreements governing our Senior Credit Facilities and are required to seek a waiver, we may not be able to obtain a waiver from the required lenders on acceptable terms, or at all. If this occurs, we would be in default under our Senior Credit Facilities, the lenders could exercise their rights, as described above, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation.

18


 

Our variable rate indebtedness subjects us to interest rate risk, which could cause our debt service obligations to increase significantly.

Borrowings pursuant to our Term Loan Facility bear interest at floating rates based on LIBOR, but in no event less than the floor rate of 1.00%, plus the applicable margin. Accordingly, fluctuations in market interest rates may increase or decrease our interest expense which will in turn, increase or decrease our net income and cash flow. We manage a portion of our interest rate risk related to floating rate indebtedness by entering into interest rate swaps and caps. While limiting exposure to interest rate increases, these instruments may not fully mitigate our risk or may not be effective. For more information on our interest rate swaps and caps, see note 8 in the consolidated financial statements.

 

ITEM  1B.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.

None.

 

ITEM  2.

PROPERTIES.

We are headquartered in New York City. Our headquarter offices are leased under a lease agreement expiring in 2022, with an option to renew thereafter. We own three facilities, including: (i) a 425,000 square foot customer call center, order fulfillment and distribution center in Lynchburg, Virginia, (ii) a 282,000 square foot distribution center in Asheville, North Carolina and (iii) a 63,700 square foot facility in Lynchburg, Virginia. We also lease a 45,800 square foot customer call center in San Antonio, Texas under a lease agreement expiring in October 2021. We also lease small corporate office spaces in the United States and internationally.

As of January 30, 2016, we operated 287 J.Crew retail stores, 161 J.Crew factory stores (including 10 J.Crew Mercantile stores), and 103 Madewell stores in 44 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and France. All of our stores are leased from third parties with terms, in most cases, of 5 to 10 years. A portion of our leases have options to renew for a period of 5 years. Generally, the leases contain standard provisions concerning the payment of rent, events of default and the rights and obligations of each party. Rent due under the leases is generally comprised of annual base rent plus a contingent rent payment based on the store’s sales in excess of a specified threshold. Some of the leases also contain early termination options, which can be exercised by us or the landlord under certain conditions. The leases also generally require us to pay real estate taxes, insurance and certain common area costs. We renegotiate with landlords to obtain more favorable terms as opportunities arise. We consider these properties to be in good condition and believe that our facilities are adequate for operations and provide sufficient capacity to meet our anticipated future requirements.

19


 

A summary of the number of J.Crew and Madewell stores in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and France as of January 30, 2016 is as follows:

 

 

 

J.Crew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Retail

 

  

Factory(a)

 

  

Total

 

  

Madewell

 

  

Total

Alabama

  

  

2

  

  

  

2

  

  

  

4

  

  

  

1

  

  

  

5

Arizona

  

 

4

  

  

 

4

  

  

 

8

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

10

Arkansas

  

 

1

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

  

  

 

2

California

  

 

33

  

  

 

12

  

  

 

45

  

  

 

17

  

  

 

62

Colorado

  

 

4

  

  

 

6

  

  

 

10

  

  

 

3

  

  

 

13

Connecticut

  

 

10

  

  

 

3

  

  

 

13

  

  

 

3

  

  

 

16

Delaware

  

 

1

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

  

  

 

2

Florida

  

 

16

  

  

 

11

  

  

 

27

  

  

 

4

  

  

 

31

Georgia

  

 

10

  

  

 

6

  

  

 

16

  

  

 

4

  

  

 

20

Hawaii

  

 

1

  

  

 

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

  

  

 

1

Idaho

  

 

1

  

  

 

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

  

  

 

1

Illinois

  

 

9

  

  

 

4

  

  

 

13

  

  

 

3

  

  

 

16

Indiana

  

 

2

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

4

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

5

Iowa

  

 

1

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

  

  

 

2

Kansas

  

 

1

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

3

Kentucky

  

 

2

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

3

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

4

Louisiana

  

 

3

  

  

 

3

  

  

 

6

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

7

Maine

  

 

1

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

3

  

  

 

  

  

 

3

Maryland

  

 

5

  

  

 

5

  

  

 

10

  

  

 

3

  

  

 

13

Massachusetts

  

 

14

  

  

 

5

  

  

 

19

  

  

 

6

  

  

 

25

Michigan

  

 

5

  

  

 

4

  

  

 

9

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

11

Minnesota

  

 

5

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

6

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

8

Mississippi

  

 

1

  

  

 

3

  

  

 

4

  

  

 

  

  

 

4

Missouri

  

 

3

  

  

 

3

  

  

 

6

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

8

Nebraska

  

 

1

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

  

  

 

2

Nevada

  

 

1

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

  

  

 

2

New Hampshire

  

 

2

  

  

 

3

  

  

 

5

  

  

 

  

  

 

5

New Jersey

  

 

14

  

  

 

8

  

  

 

22

  

  

 

3

  

  

 

25

New Mexico

  

 

1

  

  

 

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

  

  

 

1

New York

  

 

28

  

  

 

8

  

  

 

36

  

  

 

9

  

  

 

45

North Carolina

  

 

7

  

  

 

8

  

  

 

15

  

  

 

3

  

  

 

18

Ohio

  

 

7

  

  

 

3

  

  

 

10

  

  

 

4

  

  

 

14

Oklahoma

  

 

2

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

3

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

4

Oregon

  

 

3

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

5

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

7

Pennsylvania

  

 

10

  

  

 

9

  

  

 

19

  

  

 

4

  

  

 

23

Rhode Island

  

 

3

  

  

 

  

  

 

3

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

4

South Carolina

  

 

3

  

  

 

5

  

  

 

8

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

9

Tennessee

  

 

5

  

  

 

3

  

  

 

8

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

10

Texas

  

 

15

  

  

 

10

  

  

 

25

  

  

 

8

  

  

 

33

Utah

  

 

3

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

5

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

7

Vermont

  

 

1

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

  

  

 

2

Virginia

  

 

9

  

  

 

4

  

  

 

13

  

  

 

3

  

  

 

16

Washington

  

 

6

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

8

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

10

Wisconsin

  

 

3

  

  

 

3

  

  

 

6

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

7

District of Columbia

  

 

3

  

  

 

  

  

 

3

  

  

 

1

  

  

 

4

Canada

  

 

13

  

  

 

6

  

  

 

19

  

  

 

  

  

 

19

United Kingdom

  

 

7

  

  

 

  

  

 

7

  

  

 

  

  

 

7

Hong Kong

 

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

France

  

 

2

  

  

 

  

  

 

2

  

  

 

  

  

 

2

Total

  

 

287

  

  

 

161

  

  

 

448

  

  

 

103

  

  

 

551

 

(a)

Includes 10 J.Crew Mercantile stores.

 

20


 

ITEM  3.

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.  

We are subject to various other legal proceedings and claims arising in the ordinary course of business. Management does not expect that the results of any of these other legal proceedings, either individually or in the aggregate, would have a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

 

ITEM  4.

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURE.

Not applicable.

 

 

21


 

PART II

 

ITEM  5.

MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS.

Prior to the Acquisition, our Common Stock was traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “JCG.” Subsequent to the Acquisition, our outstanding Common Stock is privately held and therefore there is no established public trading market.

Record Holders

As of March 17, 2016, Intermediate Holdings B (our direct owner and an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of our Parent) was the only holder of record of our Common Stock.

Dividends

On December 21, 2012, the Company paid, from cash on hand, a dividend of $197.5 million to stockholders of record of the Parent on December 17, 2012.

On November 4, 2013 the Issuer, our indirect parent holding company, issued $500 million aggregate principal of the PIK Notes. The PIK Notes are: (i) senior unsecured obligations of the Issuer, (ii) structurally subordinated to all of the liabilities of the Issuers’ subsidiaries, and (iii) not guaranteed by any of the Issuers’ subsidiaries, and therefore are not recorded in our financial statements. In fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2015, we paid dividends of $28 million and $38 million, respectively, to the Issuer to fund the semi-annual interest payments.

On October 30, 2015, the Issuer delivered notice to U.S. Bank N.A., as trustee, under the indenture governing the PIK Notes, that with respect to the interest that will be due on such notes on the May 2, 2016 interest payment date, the Issuer will make such interest payment by paying in kind at the PIK interest rate of 8.50% instead of paying in cash.  The PIK election will increase the outstanding principal balance of the PIK Notes by $21.3 million to $521.3 million. Therefore, we will not pay a dividend to the Issuer in the first quarter of fiscal 2016. Pursuant to the terms of the indenture governing the PIK Notes, the Issuer intends to evaluate this option prior to the beginning of each interest period based on relevant factors at that time.

 

 

ITEM  6.

SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA.

The selected historical consolidated financial data for the fiscal year ended January 30, 2016, January 31, 2015, and February 1, 2014 and as of January 30, 2016 and January 31, 2015 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report on Form 10-K. The selected historical consolidated financial data for the fiscal year ended February 2, 2013 and the periods March 8, 2011 to January 28, 2012 and January 30, 2011 to March 7, 2011 and as of February 1, 2014, February 2, 2013 and January 28, 2012 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements which are not included in this annual report on Form 10-K. Although, the Company continued as the same legal entity after the Acquisition in fiscal 2011, we refer to the periods subsequent to the Acquisition on March 7, 2011 as “Successor” periods and the periods prior to the Acquisition on March 7, 2011 as “Predecessor” periods.

22


 

The historical results presented below are not necessarily indicative of the results to be expected for any future period. The information should be read in conjunction with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our financial statements and the related notes included herein.

 

 

 

 

Year Ended

 

 

For the Period

 

(in thousands, unless otherwise indicated)

  

 

January 30,
2016

 

 

January 31,
2015

 

February 1,
2014

 

 

February 2,
2013(a)

 

  

March 8,
2011 to
January 28,
2012

 

 

January 30,
2011 to
March 7,
2011

 

 

  

 

(Successor)

 

 

(Successor)

 

(Successor)

 

 

(Successor)

 

  

(Successor)

 

 

(Predecessor)

 

Income Statement Data:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total revenues

  

 

$

2,505,827

  

 

$

2,579,695

 

$

2,428,257

  

 

$

2,227,717

  

  

$

1,721,750

  

 

$

133,238

  

Cost of goods sold, including buying and occupancy costs

  

 

 

1,610,256

  

 

 

1,608,777

 

 

 

1,422,143

  

 

 

1,240,989

  

  

 

1,042,197

  

 

 

70,284

  

Gross profit

  

 

 

895,571

  

 

 

970,918

 

 

1,006,114

  

 

 

986,728

  

  

 

679,553

  

 

 

62,954

  

Selling, general and administrative expenses

  

 

 

834,137

  

 

 

845,953

 

 

 

754,345

  

 

 

732,439

  

  

 

572,969

  

 

 

79,736

  

Impairment losses

  

 

 

1,381,642

  

 

 

709,985

 

 

1,874

  

 

 

631

  

  

 

1,908

  

 

 

  

Income (loss) from operations

  

 

 

(1,320,208

)  

 

 

(585,020

)

 

249,895

  

 

 

253,658

  

  

 

104,676

 

 

 

(16,782

Interest expense, net

  

 

 

69,801

  

 

 

74,352

 

 

104,221

  

 

 

101,684

  

  

 

91,683

  

 

 

1,166

  

Loss on refinancings

  

 

 

  

 

 

58,960

 

 

  

 

 

  

  

 

  

 

 

  

Provision (benefit) for income taxes

  

 

 

(147,333

)  

 

 

(60,559

)  

 

57,550

  

 

 

55,887

  

  

 

584

 

 

 

(1,798

Net income (loss)

  

 

$

(1,242,676

)  

 

$

(657,773

)  

$

88,124

  

 

$

96,087

  

  

$

12,409

 

 

$

(16,150

Operating Data:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenues:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

J.Crew

  

 

$

2,146,710

  

 

$

2,295,109

 

$

2,212,684

  

 

$

2,066,216

  

  

$

1,615,190

  

 

$

125,671

  

Madewell

  

 

 

300,982

  

 

 

245,340

 

 

181,401

  

 

 

131,883

  

  

 

81,119

  

 

 

4,445

  

Other

  

 

 

58,135

  

 

 

39,246

 

 

34,172

  

 

 

29,618

  

  

 

25,441

  

 

 

3,122

  

Total revenues

  

 

$

2,505,827

  

 

$

2,579,695

 

$

2,428,257

  

 

$

2,227,717

  

  

$

1,721,750

  

 

$

133,238

  

Increase (decrease) in comparable company sales

  

 

 

(8.2

)% 

 

 

(0.7

)% 

 

3.1

 

 

12.6

 % 

  

 

N/A

  

 

 

N/A

  

J.Crew:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sales per gross square foot

  

 

$

540

  

 

$

618

 

$

663

  

 

 

681

  

  

 

N/A

  

 

$

N/A

  

Stores open at end of period

  

 

 

448

  

 

 

419

 

 

386

  

 

 

353

  

  

 

330

  

 

 

314

  

Millions of catalogs circulated

  

 

 

26.6

  

 

 

25.4

 

 

30.6

  

 

 

39.6

  

  

 

N/A

  

 

 

N/A

  

Billions of pages circulated

  

 

 

2.8

  

 

 

2.7

 

 

3.7

  

 

 

4.2

  

  

 

N/A

  

 

 

N/A

  

Madewell:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sales per gross square foot

  

 

$

746

  

 

$

747

 

$

709

  

 

 

698

  

  

 

N/A

  

 

$

N/A

  

Stores open at end of period

  

 

 

103

  

 

 

85

 

 

65

  

 

 

48

  

  

 

32

  

 

 

20

  

Capital expenditures:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

J.Crew new stores

  

 

$

32,389

  

 

$

43,388

 

$

39,875

  

 

$

38,743

  

  

$

17,559

  

 

$

361

  

Madewell new stores

 

 

 

14,286

 

 

 

14,938

 

 

14,760

 

 

 

13,125

 

 

 

12,261

 

 

 

265

 

Other

  

 

 

56,982

  

 

 

69,548

 

 

76,805

  

 

 

80,142

  

  

 

63,088

  

 

 

2,018

  

Total capital expenditures

  

 

$

103,657

  

 

$

127,874

 

$

131,440

  

 

$

132,010

  

  

$

92,908

  

 

$

2,644

  

Depreciation of property and
equipment

  

 

$

103,966

  

 

$

93,458

 

$

77,520

  

 

$

71,840

  

  

$

57,687

  

 

$

3,929

  

Amortization of intangible assets

  

 

$

15,559

  

 

$

15,944

 

$

17,886

  

 

$

23,631

  

  

$

21,068

  

 

$

  

 

(a)

Consists of 53 weeks

23


 

 

 

  

As of

 

 

  

January 30,
2016

 

  

January 31,
2015(a)

 

  

February 1,
2014(a)

 

  

February 2,
2013(a)

 

  

January 28,
2012(a)

 

Balance Sheet Data:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

  

$

87,812

  

  

$

111,097

  

  

$

156,649

  

  

$

68,399

  

  

$

221,852

  

Working capital

  

$

91,685

  

  

$

115,348

  

  

$

147,961

  

  

$

71,078

  

  

$

200,460

  

Total assets

  

$

1,516,277

  

  

$

2,932,333

  

  

$

3,670,389

  

  

$

3,472,028

  

  

$

3,563,551

  

Total debt, net

  

$

1,533,888

  

  

$

1,548,439

  

  

$

1,567,000

  

  

$

1,579,000

  

  

$

1,594,000

  

Stockholders’ equity (deficit)

  

$

(768,987

)  

  

$

516,024

  

  

$

1,190,420

  

  

$

1,091,491

  

  

$

1,177,052

  

 

(a)

In fiscal 2015, we adopted an accounting standard that requires deferred taxes be presented as noncurrent on the balance sheet. Certain prior year amounts have been reclassified to conform to the current year’s presentation; specifically, current assets were reduced by $19,280, $11,831, $14,686 and $9,971, respectively, which resulted in corresponding reductions to long-term liabilities on our consolidated balance sheets as of the dates indicated.

 

ITEM  7.

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.

This discussion summarizes our consolidated operating results, financial condition and liquidity during each of the years in a three-year period ended January 30, 2016. Our fiscal year ends on the Saturday closest to January 31. Fiscal years 2015, 2014 and 2013 ended on January 30, 2016, January 31, 2015 and February 1, 2014, respectively. Each fiscal year consisted of 52 weeks. The following discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this annual report on Form 10-K.

Executive Overview

J.Crew is an internationally recognized multi-brand apparel and accessories retailer that differentiates itself through high standards of quality, style, design and fabrics. We are a vertically-integrated, omni-channel specialty retailer that operates stores and websites both domestically and internationally. We design, market and sell our products, including those under the J.Crew® and Madewell® brands, offering complete assortments of women’s, men’s and children’s apparel and accessories.

A summary of our revenues by brand is as follows:

 

(in millions, except percentages)

  

Fiscal 2015

 

 

Fiscal 2014

 

 

Fiscal 2013

 

 

  

Amount

 

  

Percent of
Total

 

 

Amount

 

  

Percent of
Total

 

 

Amount

 

  

Percent of
Total

 

J.Crew

  

$

2,146.7

  

  

 

85.7

 

$

2,295.1

  

  

 

89.0

 

$

2,212.7

  

  

 

91.1

Madewell

  

 

301.0

  

  

 

12.0

  

 

 

245.3

  

  

 

9.5

  

 

 

181.4

  

  

 

7.5

  

Other(a)

  

 

58.1

  

  

 

2.3

  

 

 

39.3

  

  

 

1.5

  

 

 

34.2

  

  

 

1.4

  

Total

  

$

2,505.8

  

  

 

100.0

 

$

2,579.7

  

  

 

100.0

 

$

2,428.3

  

  

 

100.0

 

(a)

Consists primarily of shipping and handling fees and revenues from third-party resellers.

As of January 30, 2016, we operated 287 J.Crew retail stores, 161 J.Crew factory stores (including 10 J.Crew Mercantile stores), and 103 Madewell stores throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and France; compared to 280 J.Crew retail stores, 139 J.Crew factory stores, and 85 Madewell stores as of January 31, 2015.

A summary of highlights for fiscal 2015 is as follows:

 

·

Revenues decreased 2.9% to $2,505.8 million, with comparable company sales down 8.2%.

 

·

J.Crew revenues decreased 6.5% to $2,146.7 million, with comparable J.Crew sales down 9.9%.

 

·

Madewell revenues increased 22.7% to $301.0 million, with comparable Madewell sales up 7.8%.

 

·

We recorded non-cash impairment losses of $1,382 million, a result of write downs of (i) goodwill of $1,017 million, (ii) intangible assets of $360 million, and (iii) certain long-lived assets of $5 million.

 

·

We opened 11 J.Crew retail stores, 22 J.Crew factory stores (including 10 J.Crew Mercantile stores), and 18 Madewell stores. We closed four J.Crew retail stores.

24


 

 

·

We initiated a workforce reduction as part of a cost reduction program. We incurred a pre-tax charge of $4.8 million for severance and related costs, which will result in annualized pre-tax savings of payroll and related costs of approximately $17 million. 

How We Assess the Performance of Our Business

In assessing the performance of our business, we consider a variety of performance and financial measures. A key measure used in evaluating our business is comparable company sales. We also consider gross profit and selling, general and administrative expenses in assessing the performance of our business.

Net Sales

Net sales reflect our revenues from the sale of our merchandise less returns and discounts. We aggregate our merchandise into four sales categories: (i) women’s apparel, (ii) men’s apparel, (iii) children’s apparel, and (iv) accessories, which include shoes, socks, jewelry, handbags, belts and hair accessories. The approximate percentage of our sales by these four categories is as follows:

 

 

  

Fiscal
2015

 

 

Fiscal
2014

 

 

Fiscal
2013

 

Apparel

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s

  

 

53

 

 

54

 

 

55

Men’s

  

 

24

  

 

 

23

  

 

 

22

  

Children’s

  

 

7

  

 

 

7

  

 

 

6

  

Accessories

  

 

16

  

 

 

16

  

 

 

17

  

 

  

 

100

 

 

100

 

 

100

Comparable Company Sales

Comparable company sales reflect: (i) net sales at stores that have been open for at least 12 months, (ii) e-commerce net sales, and (iii) shipping and handling fees, which are recorded as other revenues on our statements of operations. Comparable company sales exclude net sales from: (i) new stores that have not been open for 12 months, (ii) the 53rd week, if applicable, (iii) stores that experience a square footage change of at least 15 percent, (iv) stores that have been temporarily closed for at least 30 consecutive days, (v) permanently closed stores, (vi) temporary “pop up” stores and (vii) revenue from third party resellers.

Measuring the change in year-over-year comparable company sales allows us to evaluate the performance of our business. Various factors affect comparable company sales, including:

 

·

consumer preferences, fashion trends, buying trends and overall economic trends,

 

·

competition,

 

·

changes in our merchandise mix,

 

·

pricing,

 

·

the timing of our releases of new merchandise and promotional events,

 

·

the level of customer service that we provide,

 

·

our ability to source and distribute products efficiently, and

 

·

the number of stores we open, close (including on a temporary basis for renovations) and expand in any period.

Cyclicality and Seasonality

Our industry is cyclical and our revenues are affected by general economic conditions. Purchases of apparel and accessories are sensitive to a number of factors that influence the levels of consumer spending, including economic conditions and the level of disposable consumer income, consumer debt, interest rates, foreign currency exchange rates and consumer confidence.

Our business is seasonal and as a result, our revenues fluctuate from quarter to quarter. We have four distinct selling seasons that align with our four fiscal quarters. Revenues are usually higher in our fourth fiscal quarter, particularly in December when customers make holiday purchases. In fiscal 2015, we realized approximately 28% of our revenues in the fourth fiscal quarter.

25


 

Gross Profit

Gross profit is determined by subtracting our cost of goods sold from our revenues. Cost of goods sold includes the direct cost of purchased merchandise, freight, design, buying and production costs, occupancy costs related to store operations (such as rent and utilities) and all shipping costs associated with our e-commerce business. Cost of goods sold varies directly with revenues, and therefore, is usually higher in our fourth fiscal quarter. Cost of goods sold also changes as we expand or contract our store base and incur higher or lower store occupancy costs. The primary drivers of the costs of individual goods are the costs of raw materials and labor in the countries where we source our merchandise. Gross margin measures gross profit as a percentage of our revenues.

Our gross profit may not be comparable to other specialty retailers, as some companies include all of the costs related to their distribution network in cost of goods sold while others, like us, exclude all or a portion of them from cost of goods sold and include them in selling, general and administrative expenses.

Selling, General and Administrative Expenses

Selling, general and administrative expenses include all operating expenses not included in cost of goods sold, primarily catalog production and mailing costs, certain warehousing expenses, administrative payroll, store expenses other than occupancy costs, depreciation and amortization, and credit card fees. These expenses do not necessarily vary proportionally with net sales.

Results of Operations

The following table presents our operating results as a percentage of revenues as well as selected store data:

 

 

  

Fiscal
2015

 

 

Fiscal
2014

 

 

Fiscal
2013

 

Revenues

  

 

100.0

 

 

100.0

 

 

100.0

Cost of goods sold, including buying and occupancy costs(1)

  

 

64.3

  

 

 

62.4

  

 

 

58.6

  

Gross profit(1)

  

 

35.7

  

 

 

37.6

  

 

 

41.4

  

Selling, general and administrative expenses(1)

  

 

33.3

  

 

 

32.8

  

 

 

31.1

  

Impairment losses

  

 

55.1

  

 

 

27.5

  

 

 

0.1

  

Income (loss) from operations

  

 

(52.7

)  

 

 

(22.7

)  

 

 

10.3

  

Interest expense, net

  

 

2.8

  

 

 

2.9

  

 

 

4.3

  

Loss on refinancings

  

 

  

 

 

2.3

  

 

 

  

Income (loss) before income taxes

  

 

(55.5

)  

 

 

(27.8

)  

 

 

6.0

  

Provision (benefit) for income taxes

  

 

(5.9

)  

 

 

(2.3

)  

 

 

2.4

  

Net income (loss)

  

 

(49.6

)% 

 

 

(25.5

)% 

 

 

3.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selected company data:

 

Fiscal
2015

 

 

Fiscal
2014

 

 

Fiscal
2013

 

J.Crew:

  

 

 

 

 

 

        Number of stores open at end of period