JCPenney’s latest “game-changer”

Penney announced a new “fast fashion” initiative with Mango this week, and Retail Wire commentators had a chance to weigh in. Here’s my point of view:

I’m a skeptic about JCPenney’s latest “reinvention.” So far, American Living hasn’t moved the comp-sales needle although it was also accorded a “store-within-the-store” treatment. And JCP has been painfully slow rolling out its Sephora shop concept, considering its stated success so far. Now JCP intends to launch Mango shops on top of its aggressive push in 2010 to become the exclusive retailer of the Liz Claiborne brand.

Meanwhile, JCP’s women’s apparel area looks unfocused and cluttered with too much “exclusive brand” proliferation to begin with. Clearly the results so far in 2010 (at least as far as top-line sales are concerned) show that Penney is mixing its “style/quality/price” messages and losing share in the meantime.

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