J. Crew will close two of its four Twin Cities locations, in Mall of America and Southdale. Both stores will close Jan. 27.
The women's, men's and children's preppy apparel retailer announced in November that it would close 39 stores after years of lackluster sales. In the most recent quarter, it reported a sales decline of 12 percent.
The once-charmed brand that gained international attention when Michelle Obama wore its designs started to experience sales declines several years ago. It raised prices and launched a high-end brand during the recession, falling out of step with consumers who turned more cost-conscious. A New Yorker profile said its designs became "overpriced, eccentric and even downright ugly."
In 2017, the company closed its bridal business, saw the exits of Chief Executive Mickey Drexler and creative director Jenna Lyons, and laid off 150 employees.
Stores in Rosedale and in St. Paul on Grand Avenue will remain open. The company, which also owns Madewell, has factory stores at the Twin Cities Premium Outlets in Eagan and Knollwood in St. Louis Park that will also remain.
All J. Crew stores, including the ones that are closing, are discounting all regular merchandise 25 percent and all sale merchandise an additional 50 percent.
The closings represent about 6 percent of J Crew's stores.
January has become a routine month for retailers to announce closings. On Thursday, Walmart announced that 63 Sam's Club stores will close. Other retailers closing stores in 2018 include Macy's, Sears, Target, Gap, Children's Place, Gymboree, Guess, Michael Kors, Kmart, Bon-Ton and Last Call by Neiman Marcus.