JCPenney Sued Again Over Bodum Shops-In-Store Deal

JCPenney (NYSE:JCP) just can't shake Ron Johnson's legacy. With the troubled chain's fight with Macy's (NYSE:M) over Johnson's Martha Stewart deal still in the hands of a New York state judge, another shop-within-the-store deal has drawn a lawsuit. Upscale coffee-press maker Bodum has sued Penney's for failing to open the all-Bodum shops that were supposed to be in hundreds of stores, Reuters reported.

In a lawsuit filed on Aug. 30 in New York state court, Bodum said it spent $2.8 million as part of a deal it reached with Penney's in November 2012. Under the deal, Penney's would launch Bodum shops within many of its stores by March 2013, featuring Bodum housewares and Ordning & Reda office and stationery products.

Instead, Penney's missed the March deadline, installed the shops in fewer stores than agreed upon, and placed Bodum merchandise "haphazardly" throughout its stores. Former CEO Ron Johnson, who cut the deal, was fired in early April, and many of his plans have been rolled back since then, in the wake of a 25-percent sales drop during Johnson's tenure.

Bodum said it had seen the Penney's deal as a way to raise its visibility and bring the Ordning & Reda brand to the U.S. market. "Now, with JCP's inept and failed launched of this brand, it will be impossible to successfully relaunch the brand for a significant period of time," Bodum said in the complaint.

JCPenney didn't comment on the lawsuit, but the Bodum merchandise is no longer on the chain's website.

The Bodum lawsuit joins the Macy's lawsuit over Martha Stewart and several lawsuits related to store renovations to put new upscale home departments in 500 JCPenney stores that would carry designer-brand housewares. The home departments, which were finally unveiled in July, are now expected to be retrofitted for student and seasonal goods by the end of the year.

For more:

- See this Reuters story

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