Industry Views - March 2012

LDB Exclusive:
More On The jcpenney Revamp


Jcpenney spokesperson, Kate Coultas, responds to questions posed by LDB Interior Textiles as follow-up to the January “In Praise Of Fresh Air” presentation, during which J.C. Penney Co, Inc., announced plans to transform its jcpenney department stores over the next four years (see p. 12, “J.C. Penney Reimagined” for details).

Q. Since jcpenney will be raising product quality, featuring more fashion-forward merchandise, at what level will it fit into the retailer landscape?

“We want to be America’s Favorite Store, meaning a place for everyone to shop—old, young, rich, poor, urban and rural. We expect that our growing customer base will respond favorably to our straightforward pricing approach combined with a unique merchandise assortment from a range of highly sought-after brands. Because we want to be a store for everyone, we will continue to offer a range of price points that are affordable and reflect great value for the product. A perfect example of this pricing tier is our offering of down and down-alternative comforters. Comforters are categorized by Bronze (great quality), Silver (outstanding quality) and Gold (luxurious quality).

“Our vendors are excited that change is coming to jcpenney, and they recognize the opportunity it represents for them. The timing of our transformation is also evident by how many of the world’s most recognized brands are coming to talk to us about future collaborations. The vendors we will be working with, including some new ones, are committed to being outstanding partners. They are excited we are giving their brands integrity by removing the endless promotions.”

Q. What will be the goal as far as percentage of known brands versus private label?

“We want to have destination brands that our customers love and seek out. Some we already carry, including Sephora and its brands, as well as Liz Claiborne, Arizona, and Worthington, which we will focus on making even better.

“We are in the process of incorporating others, like Martha Stewart and L’Amour Nanette Lepore, and we expect to reveal many other new partnerships in the future. The end result will be an amazing selection of brands—more than 100 of them— so everyone will have a reason to shop jcpenney. We plan to focus on those private brands that have been winners at jcpenney and that customers really respond to, including Arizona and Worthington. Ultimately, private brands will be a smaller portion of our business than in the past.”

Q. When the transformation is complete in 2015, will more or fewer home goods brands be offered?

“We believe ther e is a big opportunity in Home, and jcpenney needs to regain its leadership position in it. We do not have further details to share at this time.”

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