21 August 2011

J. Crew Chagrin

Last week, I was so excited about the imminent prospect of finally being able to shop from the J. Crew website from the UK, without having to pay the pricey fees of Bundlebox, or other similar mail forwarding services. Well, now that J. Crew's UK site has launched and I've finally had the chance to take a good look, I'm not quite so thrilled because the prices are so high.

At Banana Republic and Anthropologie, the exchange rates used for the UK stores and websites seem quite fair. Take this Map of the World skirt, which I like but wouldn't buy. In the US, it's $178, whereas in the UK, it retails for £148. You then only have to pay £4 or £5 postage and packaging and no taxes. Meanwhile, at J. Crew, the grey blazer I like costs £172.75 (compared with a US price of $188), which is nearly pounds-for-dollars pricing. If I made it as far as checkout, I probably would have found out that they would have to add another 20% for VAT (so another £35) and then, because the item costs more than $200 (via the UK website, anyway), I'd have to pay customs duty, which could be another £30. Oh, and the £9.95 shipping. All of this wouldn't be so bad if I really loved the jacket and knew it would fit but I'm fussy about blazer fit, and I really don't know how small the 00P would come up.

I say if I made it as far as checkout because I tried to get to that stage to see how much tax and customs I'd have to pay but although I could add the item to my basket, after entering my delivery address, the site came up with an error message: "52589 : This product was not found in our international database. Please remove this item from your shopping cart and try again." I did try again and it still didn't work, so I guess it's lucky I'd already decided to wait until my trip to New York next month.

The pink skirt I like costs £78 ($85 in the US), or about £105 including taxes and shipping. This is still very expensive (for comparison, when I ordered an $88 skirt from the US J. Crew last year using Bundlebox, the total cost was $117, or about £71) but it is a pretty skirt and I know the size 00 will probably fit me. I might have been tempted but the expected shipping date is September 12, which is the day before I fly to NYC...


  1. Anonymous17:57

    Can you believe it's still cheaper to do it yourself with Bundlebox?
    Just left a comment on this already below.

  2. I know, it's really disappointing. I'm lucky enough to be going to the US in a few weeks so at least I can buy the J. Crew things I'd been getting excited about. But after such a long wait, I can't believe their prices are so harsh...