DEFENDING THE CREW: J. Crew Group chairman and chief executive officer Millard “Mickey” Drexler wasted little time in responding to Delia Ephron’s Dec. 23 op-ed piece in The New York Times that castigated J. Crew for a botched online gift order (wrong merchandise sent to the wrong people and places, no gift-wrapping, cards “buried deep in the packaging”), and asserted the shift to holiday e-commerce has made seasonal gift-giving “as mundane and problematic as all our Web purchases, which in my family include paper towels and toilet paper.”

Bemoaning “intimacy replaced by expedience,” Ephron has resolved to never order Christmas presents online again.

This story first appeared in the December 28, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Drexler’s response, published Thursday, expressed surprise “that a customer complaint was elevated to an indictment of online retailing,” which, he argued, “offers convenience, saves time, adds value and provides access to goods and services that might otherwise be difficult to obtain.”

J. Crew has shipped more than a million packages worldwide since Thanksgiving, the ceo noted, and Ephron’s experience, however unfortunate, “is hardly the norm.

“We certainly acknowledge that what is warranted in this situation is a sincere apology, but not a generalized defamation of an efficient and valuable way of shopping today,” Drexler concluded.

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