First Look: JC Penney unveils new store model
J.C. Penney wants to make its stores more fun and easier to shop.
The 117-year-old department store retailer opened a revamped location at North East Mall in the Dallas suburb of Hurst, Texas, that features a totally reimagined format and a truncated name: Penney’s (which is how most people refer to it.)
Built around data and insights learned from more than a year of customer research, the “brand-defining” store is experiential at its core, and a direct result of what today’s shoppers want from a retailer, the company said. The new format comes as Penney’s, under a new leadership time put in place by new CEO Jill Soltau, is looking to turn around its fortunes after a long slump of losses.
“Our customers are at the heart of everything we do,” said Soltau, who took the reins of the company about a year ago. “They told us that they want a retailer that reflects their lives, makes them feel good about themselves, is fun to shop and truly understands the important moments in their lives, big and small. This store is more than a renovated location, it is the fullest articulation of our customer-centered strategy, an investment in our future and a lab to inform decisions to return JCPenney to sustainable, profitable growth.”
For shopping ease, the merchandise layout in the store has been reorganized, with the clothing assortments organized by occasion, ranging from “All Day” for casual workwear and weekend wear to “Shine” for special times.
A new area, All-You, showcases fashion jewelry and accessories, the in-store Sephora shop and Penney’s updated beauty salon, Salon and Spa by InStyle. The store also features Penney’s first-ever barbershop, The Barbery.
Other new features include “The Styling Rooms,” fitting rooms that are equipped with technology that allows shoppers to get new sizes or colors without leaving the space. The rooms are staffed with style experts who will help customers pull together outfits.
In the home goods area, Penney’s partnered with Pinterest on a digital tool that helps customers who are looking for a home refresh find inspiration. After answering a few home décor preference questions, shoppers are presented with a curated Pinterest Board featuring Penney home products that best meet their needs and match their style.
Here are some other store highlights.
- The store includes Penney’s first-ever fitness studio (Movement Studio), which features instructor-led fitness, stretching and yoga classes. It is situated in the activewear department.
- Shoppers can participate in lifestyle workshops on topics such as how to achieve the perfect blowout, smokey eye and even demos of the latest cooking gadgets in the store’s Style and Substance area.
- A kid’s destination features a clubhouse where kids can see artwork come to life and participate in fun events.
- To make customers feel more comfortable, 13% of the store has been dedicated to 11 lounges, including a parents lounge to give parents a place to recharge.
- A café, Pearl Cup Bistro, is located on the first floor, with a grab-and-go outpost on the second floor.
Penney’s signature portrait studio has been updated to be the first-ever Shutterfly Picture Pop Selfie Studio. It features a variety of wall options and props such as pillows and framed art to personalize a backdrop.
An information desk is located upfront, with a designated area for shoppers to pick up their online purchases.
The retailer said its app enables customers to get the most out of its new in-store experience. App users can book their appointments at the salon and barbershop, schedule curbside pickup, secure their spot a workshop or studio class, reserve clothes to try on and call an associate to get support anywhere in the store.