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Market research resources on J. Crew and clothing retail

Published by Mark Bodnar

simple drawing of a man standing in front of a clothing rack with shirts hanging on it.

Our intrepid BUS 345 students will be doing some primary research on J.Crew and clothing retail this term. If you're in that class, see below for some initial thoughts on resources that might be helpful.

(And if you're not in that class, but just want a sample topic to use as you explore our powerful market research resources... read on!)

1. Passport

A quick search in Passport for terms such as apparel internet retail canada (not all at once!) should get you to reports such as: 

  • Apparel and Footwear Global Industry Overview 
  • Apparel and Footwear in Canada
  • Apparel and Footwear in the US
  • Designer Apparel and Footwear (Ready-To-Wear) in the US
  • US Leads Dynamic Growth in Online Apparel and Footwear Sales
  • Internet Retailing in Canada

This approach will also give you Market Size, Company Share, Brand Share, Distribution, and other valuable statistical tables covering clothing retail in Canada (and beyond). Be sure to use the options above each table to adjust the time period and other settings to fit your needs.

Also try a search for "J. Crew" (with a space after the period) to get short reports and articles that touch on J. Crew's challenges.

2. Statista

Statista can provide a shortcut to relevant statistics buried in articles and reports throughout the web (including some sources that aren't freely available).  

Try searches for terms such as clothing, apparel, or online fashion. Also try major store/brand names.

Be sure to follow the links to original sources under the Source tab to the left of each of the charts. Sometimes the original sources of the data presented by Statista will have additional numbers and context to make your research easier.

Examples of the most detailed reports you will get from Statista: 

3. J. Crew Group, Inc. (company history) 

This short 2008 report is from our International Directory of Company Histories. It provides some good background on how the company's strategy changed over the years.

4. Vividata

Vividata provides detailed data on Canadian consumers and the places they shop, brands they buy, etc.  Try browsing the options in the Shopping & Apparel section to start.

5. IBISWorld

IBISWorld reports are on industries, rather than markets, but that perspective can also be very useful. Look, especially, for the following reports: 

  • Men's Clothing Stores in Canada
  • Women's Clothing Stores in Canada
  • Family Clothing Stores in Canada
  • Men's Clothing Stores in the US
  • Women's Clothing Stores in the US
  • Online Men's Clothing Sales
  • Online Designer Clothing Sales

6. Factiva

Factiva covers key news sources, including many industry-specific publications such as WWD (Women's Wear Daily) and Just Style.  It's a good place to search if you need recent news on J. Crew and its competitors.  Check out this screen capture of a Factiva Expert Search that may save you some time.

7.  PsycInfo and Business Source Complete

Be sure to search both PsycInfo and Business Source Complete for research articles about your topic as the two databases cover different, though overlapping, groups of journals.

TIP: Remember that even articles in which the countries, consumer groups, etc. that were studied aren't the same as your target group may still be useful! Do they have methodology details (even actual questionnaires) that you could replicate? Did they run into issues with their studies that you could learn from? 

In PsycInfo, start with this rough search to find articles such as...

In Business Source Complete, start with this rough search to find such articles as the following.

(Note: I've limited that search to scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals by checking that option off on the search screen, You may want to remove that limit so that you can scan your nonacademic (industry and business news) results for any relevant information on J.Crew, apparel retailing trends, etc.]

TIP: If an article isn't available fulltext in a database (such as the JFMM ones above), click on Get@SFU to have our system check to see if we have it online.

8. Primary research

Many of the articles above will give you methodology ideas, but you may also want to try these sources: 

  • Marketing Scales Handbooks 
    A series of books (and ebooks) that list the scales/questions used in academic market research, all indexed by the topic each question was meant to measure.
  • PsycTESTS
    There's a good chance that other researchers have already developed and tested questionnaires to measure something close to what you are studying.  Where the Marketing Scales Handbooks allow you to drill down to the level of specific questions on your topic, PsycTESTS is more focused on complete questionnaires.  Need a Fashion Consciousness and Consumption Questionnaire or a Consumer Fashion Habits and Attitudes Survey?  Start with PsycTESTS!

    TIP: Don't check off the option to limit to fulltext in PsycTESTS as you will miss some good stuff! Scan the non-fulltext entries for any clues as to what articles the tests covered were published in, then search for those articles. For instance, this test is available in this article

I hope that's enough to get you started! If you need more, stop by the library to chat with my colleagues.

Good luck with your research! 

-- MarkB
Mark Bodnar
Business & Economics Librarian

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