America's Real Merchant Prince Mickey Drexler

Dots| The tidbits of “Mickey is the real deal. He is the Steve Jobs of retail,” says designer Andy Spade, who teamed up with Drexler on the Liquor Store, a stand-alone pet project of a men’s store opened in 2008. “He knows exactly what to buy high and what to buy low. He knows what consumers want, he surrounds himself with smart people and, above all, he’s close to the product.” interview with Mickey Drexler remind us that Ralph Lauren’s not the only Bronx-born merchant prince to build brands representing the American dream.

Drexler’s done it twice, taking Gap from a $400 million to $14 billion company before receiving a call from board member Steve Jobs that he was going to be fired. Relieved but very angry as Mickey Drexler describes his feels — so intense that he hasn’t been in a Gap store since — the retail maestro turned his visions on J Crew. When Drexler took up the reins in 2003, J. Crew had $609 million in debt and 196 stores. Today, it has 321 stores, less than $50 million in debt and $298 million cash on hand.

“Mickey is the real deal. He is the Steve Jobs of retail,” says designer Andy Spade, who teamed up with Drexler on the Liquor Store, a stand-alone pet project of a men’s store opened in 2008. “He knows exactly what to buy high and what to buy low. He knows what consumers want, he surrounds himself with smart people and, above all, he’s close to the product.” Read on in-depth at WSJ’s Mickey Drexler: Retail Therapist.