JC Penney's $800 million revamp is well underway. After unveiling its store redesign on Monday--a shops-in-shops model meant to give more of a "boutique" feel--the department store has even more exciting news to deliver today. Uber-cool Canadian brand Joe Fresh will open up shop--literally--in 683 JC Penney stores, WWD is reporting.
According to Joe Fresh's creative director and founder Joe Mimran, the new deal came about in record speed--another sign that JC Penney isn't messing around when it comes to its transformation. "Ron [Johnson, JC Penney's CEO] and I touched base about four months ago, he reached out to me and I told him to visit our flagship in New York," Mimran, told the trade. "He shared with me his vision and the repositioning and transformation. For us, it looked like a great opportunity to get a very large footprint in the U.S. very quickly and to do it with someone who is visionary."
The result of that conversation is a four-year deal between the two brands that will have Joe Fresh designing the shops--ranging in size from 1,000 to 2,500 square feet--and supplying the merchandise. "It’s Joe’s fixturing, Joe’s price signs. It looks just like Joe Fresh," Johnson said.
And fans of the Joe Fresh brand need not fear that the company's stand-alone store expansion will stall. Mimran assured WWD that he still plans on opening more freestanding locations (so far, there are six).
If it's done right, this new partnership should be a boost for both companies: JC Penney will get its sought-after cool factor, while Joe Fresh will get some serious exposure in the American market.
Of course, Joe Fresh isn't the only brand that's recently inked a deal with JC Penney. As part of its massive overhaul, the retailer has announced collaborations in the past six months with an array of designers and companies including: William Rast, Marchesa, Betsey Johnson, Cosmopolitan and Nanette Lepore (who will design a juniors line called L'amour). At last night's YMA Scholarship Panel Discussion, Cynthia Rowley told us that she will also be collaborating with the brand--and this isn't even to mention all the long-standing designer collaborations that JC Penney already has in the roster, including MNG by Mango, Nicole by Nicole Miller, I Heart Ronson, and Olsenboye.
Obviously, JC Penney is hoping all these collaborations will help revamp its brand. And we can't blame it, considering the retailer lost $163 million in the first quarter of 2012. Do you think JCP is on the right track?