JCPenney launches fast-fashion line

JCPenney (NYSE:JCP) has thrown its hat in the ring of the competitive, fast-fashion world. Earlier this month the department store chain launched Belle + Sky, a line of women's wear that can be produced and turned over at a fast pace, giving JCPenney a fighting chance against apparel retailers such as H&M, Zara and Forever 21.

The new line is still in the testing phase, available online and at 50 of its 1,000 stores, Fortune reported. Prices for items, such as dresses and skinny jeans, range from $14.99 to $59.99.

Department stores and other apparel retailers are looking to keep up with fast-fashion chains by shortening their concept-to-shelves time from the typical nine months to four. Gap, American Eagle Outfitters and J. Crew have started to shorten the production cycle a bit, but are still not on par with the Forever 21s of the world.

The move could be considerable for JCPenney, which gets 56 percent of its revenue from apparel. The company is in the midst of a turnaround since the tough times that came after an attempt to go more upscale in 2012 and 2013. But under the leadership of the new CEO Marvin Ellison, the company hopes to become more nimble. He eventually wants private brands to comprise 50 percent of the store's product, Dallas News reported.

"I have no desire to displace our national brands, but we can create private brands to increase our online penetration," Ellison told Dallas News.

JCPenney also partners with other fast-fashion brands such as MNG by Mango (a Spanish retailer), available in 600 JCPenney stores.

For more:
-See this Dallas News article
-See this Fortune article

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