JCPenney recently announced the launch of Boutique+ (a new private brand for plus-size customers). The news prompted a broader RetailWire discussion of JCP’s women’s apparel business. Here’s my take:
The reshuffling of the JCP merchant team (and the departure of head merchant and former women’s GMM Liz Sweney) signals the new CEO’s dissatisfaction with the growth of their women’s apparel business. I’m not convinced, however, that yet another private brand is the answer — even in an opportunity category like plus sizes. JCP already suffers from too many overlapping brands and a lack of assortment clarity or key items within some of those brands. (And Penney has plenty of company in the department store segment.) Unless JCP feels that the “young plus size” business needs a blank slate, I’m not certain this is the right approach.