Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.

As part of its new retail strategy, J.C. Penney has announced plans to transform its department stores into a collection of brand shops, the first of which are debuting this month for the back-to-school season. The transformation, which will see J.C. Penney stores divided into 80 to 100 brand shops over the next four years, began last week with the unveiling of three shops — Levis, i jeans by Buffalo and The Original Arizona Jean Co. — in close to 700 stores nationwide.

(NEW YORK) Joe Mimran's expansion plans continue at breakneck pace. The founder of Joe Fresh has just unveiled an ambitious partnership with JCPenney, announcing plans to roll out approximately 700 shops-in-shop at locations of the newly-renovated department store throughout the United States. The shops, which will range from 1,000 to 2,500 square feet, are expected to bow in April 2013, and they will launch with women's apparel. Joe Fresh products will also be sold at jcp.com. "We are extremely proud to partner with one of America's most iconic department stores, especially as they embark on a retail transformation headed

Brands4friends, Germany's largest online fashion destination, will be acquired by eBay for approximately $200 million, strengthening eBay's fashion presence in Europe. Brands4friends launched in 2007 and currently has 3.5 million members in Germany. The site has touted a variety of campaigns for more than 600 fashion brands, including Buffalo, Calvin Klein and Diesel. The deal also sees eBay acquiring Brands4friends' equity interests in SecretSales.com, a U.K. shopping club, and Brands4friends.jp in Japan. eBay reports that the online shopping clubs account for about 20 percent of online fashion sales in Europe. "We want to give our customers the best possible

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