Apparel retailer J Crew Group Inc is axing 95 jobs and suspending its pension contributions this year as part of cost cutting measures that should reduce annual expenses by $40m.

Other cost cuts include eliminating merit based wage increases for the entire workforce in 2009, the New York based firm said Friday (27 February).

There are also moves to reduce costs in the supply chain, store operations, real estate, catalogue circulation, the company said.

The job cuts will be in its New York offices and support functions in the field and distribution centres - and represent around 10% of its staff in these departments.

J Crew, which operates 226 stores, said the measures are being introduced in response to the "challenging economic environment, which is anticipated to continue through the company's current fiscal year."

The company has already slashed its planned capital expenditures for fiscal 2009 to $55-60m, which is 25% less than in 2008.

It also expects to incur a pre-tax charge of $1.5m during the first quarter relating to severance payments.