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JCPenney’s Fashion Transformation Continues

By Glenn Taylor





The private label revamp at JCPenney marches on.


The department store is yet again expanding its portfolio by launching its newest women’s collection, Ryegrass, in 400 of its more than 650 stores and online starting Monday.


The collection is founded on a fabric-first approach, the company says, offering an assortment of blouses, dresses, skirts, denim, shorts, vests and jackets made of materials including crepe satin, metallic jacquards, lace and soft-stretch denim, as well as genuine leather. The offering also comes at an opportune time for JCPenney now that there is pent-up demand for “going out” attire across the U.S.


In particular, the assortment features tie-neck halter dresses, tiered and asymmetrical skirts, high-waist denim and faux-suede and leather jackets. From neckline to hemline, the retailer says each Ryegrass piece is designed with feminine touches like delicate pleats, ruching, and self-covered buttons to create a vintage look and feel.

The collection’s soft color palette allows for “endless mix, match, and layering potential,” it added.


Sizes within the offering are inclusive, ranging from XS to 3X, 2-24W in stores, and 2-30W on jcp.com.

Describing Ryegrass as an affordable luxury collection, JCPenney also said it was inspired by the beauty of design and details that evoke dressmaker craftsmanship.


“The Ryegrass collection represents how we are raising the bar in our women’s private brand portfolio to offer our customers more elevated, on-trend styles,” Michelle Wlazlo, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer of JCPenney, said in a statement. “It sets the tone for JCPenney’s view on approachable, luxurious apparel and commitment to high-quality style at a tremendous value.”


The addition of the Ryegrass brand marks the fifth new private label to join JCPenney’s women’s apparel portfolio in the past six months. Last fall, the push started with the introduction of Stylus “styleisure” apparel, which is designed to reach “beyond the activewear category” the company said. In the spring, the new launches continued with three new swim brands—Mynah, Decree and Sonnet Shores, all which are not intended for specific ages or body sizes, but rather customers’ individual styles.


JCPenney’s women’s assortment has also recently seen successful refreshes to its A.N.A. casual denim brand, Xersion activewear brand, and the Liz Claiborne collection.


Women’s apparel isn’t the only category the department store has sought to remodel as it hopes to get back on track from last year’s bankruptcy and subsequent sale to landlords Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management. The company is still looking for a permanent CEO since Jill Soltau’s departure at the end of 2020.

JCPenney recently introduced the Loom + Forge brand in its latest effort to revamp its homeware offerings. The outdoor assortment includes wall decor, planters, vases, lanterns, accent furniture and pillows, while the indoor décor includes 100 percent cotton bedding and Turkish cotton bath pieces, marble serving trays and plush faux mink throws.


The department store also added the 125-year-old home bedding, bath and window selection brand Fieldcrest into its private label offering in March, and expanded its Linden Street assortment into dinnerware, serveware and table linens. The brand initially offered a core collection of towels, sheets and cotton drapes.

More new women’s private and national brand offerings will be added throughout JCPenney throughout 2021, the retailer says.


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