Will JCPenney’s ‘new, inclusive beauty experience’ relaunch be a hit?
JCPenney plans to replace its Sephora in-store beauty shops with a broad focus on inclusivity, including across price points.
The Sephora partnership, launched in 2006, was seen as one of Penney’s few winners in recent years. It dissolved during last year’s Penney bankruptcy and is scheduled to end in 2023.
The department store retailer will open ten “pilot” JCPenney Beauty shops inside stores in mid-October and debut the revamped mix on jcp.com. Beginning in fall 2022, Penney will roll out the shops to the rest of the 650-unit department store chain.
Penney loses many of the prestige beauty brands that came with the Sephora partnership under the revamp, but the inclusivity push includes the return of mass brands such as Revlon and CoverGirl.
Overall, mass and prestige will make-up about half of the updated beauty mix while “masstige” — representing premium but accessible brands that Penney says fuels “the most innovation, growth, and experimentation,” will make up the balance. Favorites such as Skin Gym, Curlsmith, Alaffia, Solinotes fragrance and OPI will remain.
The inclusivity push also includes an in-store shop from Thirteen Lune, an online destination for Black- and brown-owned beauty brands. Of the more than 170 brands in the initial mix, 39 are minority-owned.
“It’s really hyper inclusive,” Michelle Wlazlo, EVP and chief merchandising officer, told WWD. “We are very proud to say we are building a beauty business that fills our customers’ needs regardless of age, gender, race, skin tone, hair type, even beauty regime or budget. It’s really a strategy welcoming all customers — men, women, older, younger.”
Other changes include:
- JCPenney Beauty will feature a number of exclusives, including Mirabella, Makeup Geek and several BIPOC-founded brands;
- Penney will triple the range of haircare products to complement its long standing strong salon business;
- Beauty purchases will count towards the department store’s rewards program, whereas past purchases supported Sephora’s loyalty program.
Penney continues to seek a new CEO after Jill Soltau exited in January, a month after the bankruptcy emergence under its new owner, Simon Property and Brookfield Asset Management.
JCPenney Beauty will face heightened competition, with Kohl’s adding Sephora in-store shops and Target adding Ulta Beauty shops.
- JCPenney Unveils Brands and Store Locations for New, Inclusive Beauty Experience – JCPenney/Business Wire
- JCPenney Beauty Brands and First 10 Locations Revealed – JCPenney
- EXCLUSIVE: The Strategy Behind Penney’s Beauty Redux – WWD
- How JCPenney is filling the Sephora gap – Glossy
- Sephora inside JCPenney – Sephora
- J.C. Penney is searching for a new CEO – RetailWire
- Beauty shop-in-shops are trending – RetailWire
- Simon says J.C. Penney is ready to become a 21st century retailer – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of JCPenney’s plans for its post-Sephora beauty departments? Does the update offer any insights into how Penney should be repositioning its overall mix?