JC Penney Unveils New Stores-Within-Store Collaborations

JC Penney Levi's iPad

With a focus on back-to-school and denim, JC Penney unveiled three new store-within-a-store concepts at its New York location.  The brands showcased include Levi’s, Arizona, and Buffalo.  The concept will roll out at 683 of 1,100 JC Penney locations by August 1st.

The retailer’s eventual plan is to make all their locations into hubs featuring their different brands in “boutiques” (under 750 square feet), “shops” (between 750 and 1,400 square feet), and “stores” (over 1,400 square feet).  At the moment, there’s a focus on technology alongside the new concept; the men’s Levi’s denim bar in Manhattan, for example, comes equipped with iPads providing both further product information and mobile check-out.

In-store shops devoted to the retailer’s various brands will continue to debut every month through 2015.  As far as new offerings, consumers can look forward to lines from Lulu Guinness, Vivienne Tam, and Cynthia Rowley, among others.  Within a broader retail context, JC Penney’s embrace of the store-within-store layout seems like confirmation that this is a big new way for brick-and-mortar retail to set itself apart from online.  Nordstrom, after all, is launching in-store Topshop hubs, Saks Fifth Avenue is showcasing 3.1 Phillip Lim like this, and the British department stores have been on this track for a while. Stateside, who’ll be next to re-format this way?

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