J.C. Penney Revamps Women’s Clothing Brand to Help Boost Sales
J.C. Penney is relaunching one of its biggest in-house women’s apparel brands as part of its strategy to help boost sales and remain relevant, CNBC reported. The department stores's Ana brand has new products in stores and online, and the full assortment will be available by March. The brand will offer extended sizes and will have items priced at about $39 to $49. Michelle Wlazlo, executive vice president and chief merchant at J.C. Penney, told CNBC that the revamp, which will focus on denim and casual pieces, was implemented because customers consistently told the retailer that they didn't feel J.C. Penney was the place for them to buy casual clothing.
Women’s apparel is especially important to J.C. Penney's overall business. It represents the department store's largest product category, accounting for 22 percent of net sales in 2018 ($11.66 billion).
Total Retail's Take: The relaunch of the private-label apparel brand Ana makes a lot of sense for J.C. Penney. One, it's an investment in the retailer's most important product category (apparel), while at the same time attempts to attract much-needed younger shoppers to the aging department store chain. Launching (or relaunching) in-house brands is a strategy that's worked for other retailers in the past. For example, Target successfully rolled out women's apparel label, A New Day. With J.C. Penney's revenue continuing to decline as consumers increasingly eschew malls in favor of online shopping, it will be interesting to see if the Ana rebrand will breathe some life into the business and help to win over younger consumers, particularly millennials. J.C. Penney's competitor, Macy's, is in a similar situation, with an aging core customer demographic. Macy's recently announced that it plans to focus on and invest in its four best-performing private-label brands, in hopes to spur a turnaround.
Ashley Chiaradio is the Senior Content Strategist at Total Retail. Ashley has been creating content for more than 7 years, and provides a unique insight in covering the retail industry having worked directly for retailers in the past. She’s passionate about profiling women leadership in the space.