• Retail Dive

J.C. Penney launches private apparel brand as it welcomes new owners

By Daphne Howland

Published Nov. 12, 2020




  • J.C. Penney on Thursday introduced a new private label brand, Stylus, part of their "New and Wow!" branding effort. The line is now available in 363 stores nationwide, through its app and online. 

  • Stylus features the comfortable style that consumers are seeking out these days as they continue to work from home, although the department store pushed back against the idea that Stylus is athleisure.

  • The label includes cardigans, "easy pants," jumpsuits and tees in sizes XS to 3X, "with consistent pricing from $26 to $89 across all sizes," according to a company press release.

Dive Insight:

With this week's court approval for mall developers Simon Property Group and Brookfield to take it over, J.C. Penney apparently has the confidence to coin new words, in this case, "styleisure."

"Not to be confused with athleisure, our Stylus brand provides the style and comfort our customers are craving in their multifaceted daily lives, creating a solution that reaches beyond the activewear category," the retailer said in its release.


It's a welcome bit of news at a time when the beleaguered retailer is preparing to exit its Chapter 11 process at long last, under the ownership of two of its major landlords — a tie-up that some analysts see as a cynical play on the part of the mall REITs to protect other leases in their holdings. Leases with inline tenants could unravel if Penney were to leave as an anchor.


It's been a long road, and its challenges remain. The company has seen sales decline every year since 2015 and posted losses for most of the past decade, with a heavy debt load lingering from CEO Ron Johnson's brief tenure and disastrous turnaround in the early 2010s.


The new private label apparel effort is the latest attempt to correct a particularly weak area, women's apparel, where Penney has struggled for years now. The company said that, as it "continues implementing its Plan for Renewal transformation strategy, the Stylus brand is a true testament to the Company’s continuous innovative commitment to offer compelling merchandise for today’s shoppers."

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