J.C. Penney to open in-store shops for men’s outdoor apparel

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J.C. Penney to open in-store shops for men’s outdoor apparel

By Marianne Wilson - 09/10/2019
J.C. Penney is hoping to attract customers who live — or inspire to live — an outdoor lifestyle.

The retailer will open in-store outdoor shops for men in 100 locations and jcp.com on Oct. 4. Penney also announced the launch of a new, exclusive house brand called St. John’s Bay Outdoor. The assortment, which will include a mix of sweaters, jackets, vests, graphic tees, rugged shirts and performance outerwear, will carry men from outdoor adventures to a “guy’s night out in style,” the company said.

“As America spends more time outdoors, J.C. Penney is launching an entirely new outdoor category for men that delivers what he wants and what aligns with his lifestyle,” said Michelle Wlazlo, chief merchant at Penney. “With this expansion, J.C. Penney is taking part in the nearly $900 billion outdoor recreation industry by offering functional, durable apparel with our customer expectations at the core, all at an incredible value.”

Penney plans to dedicate about 800 sq. ft. to its new outdoor shop, which will feature modern fixtures, bold graphics and stylized mannequins that “inspire adventure and exploration of the great outdoors.” While Penney’s new private brand will serve as the centerpiece of the department, the merchandise mix will feature apparel from new national sportswear brands new to the retailer: denim brand American Threads and performance-wear companies The American Outdoorsman and Hi-Tec.

The new initiative comes as the beleaguered retailer has been struggling to improve sales, which fell 9.2% in its most recent quarter. It recently announced that it is partnering with online consignment retailer thredUp, with 30 Penney stores to offer a selection of secondhand women’s clothing and handbags in a 500-sq.-ft.-to-1,000-sq.-ft. presentation.