JCPenney gives millennials more, redesigns the center store

JCPenney (NYSE:JCP) is adding a new private label brand to its apparel offerings. Belle + Sky is targeted to millennial women and will debut along with a new center core layout.

The brand was piloted online and in select stores last fall and will roll out to 500 locations on Feb. 12.

"Belle + Sky is going to resonate with a diverse group of women in their 20s and 30s who are style conscious, digitally connected and are quick to emulate their outfits based on what they're seeing on various social media channels," said Siiri Dougherty, senior VP of women's apparel. "Millennials spend approximately $600 billion a year, and therefore we know that she's willing to invest in brands that reflect who she is and how she lives."

The launch will be supported by an omnichannel marketing campaign, including social media outreach and partnerships with bloggers.

This will be the first contemporary private label line at JCPenney that will add new designs throughout the season, mirroring the efforts of fast-fashion brands popular with younger shoppers. This "straight from the runway" trend is being adopted by designers and retailers. Burberry last week announced the realignment of its labels into a single show to narrow the time between runway and retail, while Tom Ford canceled his Fashion Week shows entirely and will release new fashions directly to consumers.

JCPenney's Belle + Sky is being positioned to better compete with youthful low-priced apparel, with entire outfits priced between $40 to $100. A new signature handbag will be released 12 times a year, and a complementary shoe line is scheduled to launch in select stores this fall.

The new store design will debut in select stores in April after successful pilot tests. There will be new shelving and displays for signature brands, and the center store redesign will change the presentation of fine jewelry, shoes, handbags and beauty.

"As we continue to expand our center core concept to more stores, customers will discover compelling displays that bring accessories to life in a meaningful and dynamic way," said Jodie Johnson, senior VP, footwear and handbags. "Each piece in our collection of brands has been thoughtfully curated and displayed to ensure that she can discover various ways to update her wardrobe and take her style to the next level."

For more:
-See this JCPenney press release
-See this Fashion Times article
-See this story in The Business of Fashion

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