J. Crew Plays Dress Up

But will trendier togs and new stores do the trick?

It seems an odd location: To build its flagship store, cataloger J. Crew Group Inc. chose the hip SoHo section of New York City. While track lighting, high ceilings, and black-nylon hip-hugger pants are de rigueur for the neighborhood, they are certainly not for J. Crew. Spandex outfits hardly conjure up images of wholesome Crew models clad in chambray shirts and chinos. But these days, a shopping trip to J. Crew doesn't feel much different from one to Calvin Klein or Banana Republic.

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