By and and and  on January 13, 2009

Millard “Mickey” Drexler, chief executive officer of J. Crew Group, gave his view of where fashion retailing is headed on Monday night — and it didn’t sit well with Burt Tansky, chairman, president and ceo of Neiman Marcus Inc.

In a short but sharp exchange between the two retail chiefs and panelists at Financo’s Annual Industry Seminar & Merchandising Chief Executives Cocktail Reception, Drexler portrayed the department store business model as flawed, with stores lacking control of their destinies and at the mercy of brands that set prices and often open their own stores, which cannibalize sales from the very retailers they supply. Drexler, who has made his mark at two vertical retailers that sell in-house brands, Gap and J. Crew, fueled the old debate about whether the department store, even one selling luxury goods, ultimately can survive.

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