If you watched the Oscars last weekend, you noticed the plethora of JCP advertisements (shortened from J.C. Penney). The company once known for selling washing machines and reasonably priced fashions, is rising to the challenge that many of their competitors have faced in the past -- losing customers and the quest to bring them back.
In March, the retailer will open 100 boutique-like shops in an effort to reinvent its stores and shopping experience. Walking in the doors now, one will find designers such as Nanette Lepore, Levi's, Liz Claborne and Izod; Mid-March Joe Fresh will drop anchor. Later in the year, Martha Stewart (outcome dependent on their on-going court battle with Macy's), Jonathan Adler, Michael Graves (formerly at Target), Carter's, Cosmopolitan intimate apparel and Giggle baby will open in-store.
Originally scheduled to drop in stores today were two high end designer's lower priced items: Duro Olowu and Pearl by Georgina Chapman (of Marchesa fame), but Ms. Chapman's line of special occasion gowns launched earlier this week. Duro Olowu will continue with it's scheduled launch today.
While in New York for fashion week, I attended the Duro Olowu launch and found the line fun and youthful. I left the lounge with two bracelets: a golden spike bracelet and an off-white thick bangle. Also at the lounge, housed at Columbus Circle, were manicures with an accent nail -- a first for this girl who tends to be more traditional! Other than the clothes and manicures, Organic Avenue served up a few of their juices and waiters passed delicious finger foods, a perfect refreshment for show attendees.
The last four years, JCP has tried to revamp their image and draw in new customers, but have struggled. Even with a new logo and youthful commercials, sales are down 25% in stores and 33% on-line. With the heated court between JCP and Macy's (over Martha Stewart's line) and the massive decline in sales, headlines haven't been what they wanted of late.
Many feel Target has this market cornered, but what do you think? Will you shop the new lines?