J.Crew's Affordable 'Mercantile' Store May Not Happen After All

Bad news for J. Crew fans: looks like you'll still be paying high prices for your tasteful pantsuits and statement necklaces. According a rep for the brand, there are no concrete plans for a Mercantile chain. Sigh. Guess we'll have to keep breaking the bank if we want to wear t-shirts embellished with rhinestones to the office.

Last week, Wall Street Journal announced that J. Crew would be unveiling a new retail format called J. Crew Mercantile. Bustle reported that the new chain was to feature prices that resembled those at the factory stores, with most merchandise priced under $100. The really nice part? Unlike factory stores, the Mercantile locations would be in your average mall so you could buy inexpensive J. Crew alongside wares from H&M. Sounds great, right?

Keep your slim-fit trousers on. When the rumors first surfaced, a J. Crew rep refused to confirm or deny plans for a lower-priced chain. Now, Mickey Drexler, CEO of J. Crew group, has told WWD that the Mercantile stores may not surface at all. As in, ever.

"Mercantile is a name we own. There’s not much beyond that. It’s a name that was available and we liked. The way we run the company, we are always thinking creatively, innovating, and managing our assets. We have secured names and trademarks with either loose ideas or intentions, or with our imaginations. Sometimes things come of it, or they don’t."

That does not sound promising for us bargain-shoppers looking to get our cashmere pullovers for a little less. Drexler went on to stress that J. Crew Group registers names whenever they see fit, but that often nothing comes of these names. "It’s so in its infancy,” Drexler added. “We have not conceptualized or internalized it. We are exploring whether or not we use it.”

So, we don't have a definitive "no." But from the sounds of things, Drexler is in no rush to give consumers a lower-priced J. Crew option. He even criticized the media for exaggerating the reports, implying that a cheaper brand under the Mercantile name may never have even been discussed.

Perhaps Drexler is just trying to keep plans for J. Crew Mercantile under wraps for now, or perhaps the stores really will never come to fruition. All we can do is continue to scour the J. Crew sales racks and hope that one day the beloved work-appropriate brand will become a little more wallet-friendly.