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J.Crew approached Amazon about a sale, chairman Mickey Drexler says

“The thing that these big companies need is creativity.”

Front window of a J.Crew store with a logo on the glass and a shopper inside Getty Images
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Mickey Drexler thinks Amazon should have bought another giant brick-and-mortar retailer in addition to Whole Foods: The company he is chairman of, J.Crew.

The retail industry legend and former J.Crew CEO said his company approached Amazon about a possible sale.

“We went to visit some of his team members on that,” Drexler said of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in an interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin at the New York Times’ DealBook conference on Thursday. “And to me, it would have been an extraordinarily smart thing to do."

“I thought Walmart should have done it, too,” he said. “I thought Target should have done it. The thing that these big companies need is creativity.”

Drexler said a deal would have given Amazon “a machine of style and taste in fashion.” Amazon is in the midst of a big push in fashion, which has included the development of a variety of in-house brands across men’s, women’s and kids’ clothing and accessories.

J.Crew is owned by TPG, the private equity firm, but Drexler says he still owns 10 percent of the company. The retailer has struggled in recent years as more shopping has shifted online and younger shoppers have opted for fast-fashion retailers and digital-native brands.

Drexler said he has “enormous respect” for Amazon, but would not sell his merchandise on their website if he was still calling the shots as CEO.

“No. 1, they own the customer,” he said. Drexler also added that Amazon would “take every bestseller and put it into their private label collection, which I think they would do.”

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