Family life

Tweeps a-twitter about J. Crew's high prices

By Sandra

The last time I checked, our Loonie was still worth more than the U.S. dollar.

Why is it then, that U.S. clothing and accessories retailer J.Crew has reportedly hiked prices in its first Canadian bricks-and-mortar store by more than 20 percent?

That, and a spate of media articles including this one from The Globe and Mail was practically all shopping-savvy members of the Twitterverse were talking about early this morning. The article quoted a shopper who'd visited the store: “I feel once again as a Canadian, I’m getting screwed.”

J.Crew is a favourite of preppy-leaning fashionistas, and sells clothing for women, men and kids of both genders. The announcement that the store was coming to Canada created buzz for months beforehand. Wouldn't it be great, fans thought aloud, to shop without paying huge duty charges or hefty shipping fees, to be able to try on stuff without making a gas-guzzling trip acrosst he border?

Blogger Marci O'Connor, who goes by the handle @suzieswapper, tweeted, "Has anyone else decided to pass on @JCrew ? Sadly, I have.... they've really inflated Canadian prices! Check g&m or CBC links. Shameful...."

Others chimed in: "so sad... Was looking forward to them being here." In response to a comment noting that prices should be lower, not higher, because the Canadian dollar is worth more than the U.S. greenback, @Celticlass9 noted, "Should" is irrelevant when suckers/people r willing to pay those prices for branding. Pay they will". Hmm — a classic example of supply and demand.

And that very principle — which I'll sum up very generally as, people are willing to pay less in a competitive marketplace, and more for a scarce product with strong cachet — appears to be what's behind the overall trend toward U.S. retailers charging Canadians significantly more for the same products they shill south of the border. That's according to a Bank of Montreal economist contacted by the Globe.

What's your take on the practice of pumping up prices for Canadian customers? Will you boycott retailers that do this? Weigh in here.

This article was originally published on Aug 23, 2011

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