JC Penney Co. Inc. has rebuilt its beauty business and is ready to go with it.
Ten JCPenney Beauty âpilotâ stores will open in Penney’s stores in mid-October, and on October 15, the revamped beauty assortment will debut on jcp.com.
Starting in fall 2022, Penney’s will roll out beauty salons across the rest of the 650-unit department store chain. The project is expected to be completed sometime in 2023.
An announcement is expected today.
âIt’s been a year and a half of working on this beauty strategy and now we’re just a few weeks away from the in-store and online launch. It was pretty magical, âsaid Michelle Wlazlo, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer for Penney, in an exclusive interview with WWD.
âAt this point, we actually have over 170 brands. They are a combination of household names, cult favorites, independent brands, [brands owned by people of color] and minority-owned beauty brands, âWlazlo said. âWe will have makeup, hair care, skin care, styling tools, perfume, nail care, bath and body – all at different prices. About half of our beauty business is in âmasstigeâ, which is the level fueling the most innovation, growth and experimentation. “The other half is shared between the masses and the prestige.”
Penney’s had to redo its beauty business due to the phasing out of its 15-year partnership with Sephora which expires at the end of 2022.
As previously reported by WWD’s Beauty Inc, Thirteen Moon, the online platform selling beauty brands owned by blacks and browns, has partnered with Penney’s through in-store boutiques as part of the beauty campaign of the. big store. Some of the brands on offer include Buttah Skin, Bossy Cosmetics, Mischo Beauty, Pholk Beauty, Prados Beauty, Sara Happ, Spraise, Vernon FranÃ§ois and Wander Beauty. The beauty e-commerce site Thirteen Lune, focused on showcasing diversity, was launched late last year by Nyakio Grieco, founder of Nyakio Beauty, and Patrick Herning, founder and CEO of the site e -size inclusive 11 HonorÃ©.
The partnership with Thirteen Lune added credibility to Penney’s emerging beauty strategy and highlighted Penney’s emerging beauty strategy and encouraged other brands to do business with Penney’s as well.
The clients, too, “actually helped us shape the strategy,” Wlazlo said. âWe have surveyed thousands of customers. They were loyal customers and customers who may not have bought JC Penney as often as we would like. It was a broad spectrum. We have heard over and over again, âI want more price and brand choicesâ. They told us very loudly that they wanted more choice, in mass, in mass and in prestige.
âThere is a very good balance. The most interesting thing is the amount of discoveries that our clients will have.
Wlazlo said the creation of the assortment was a âcombination of our amazing team looking for brands and frankly brands that were looking for usâ¦ When you start a new business, you bring in people with an entrepreneurial spirit. and curious. I put the setting of don’t box yourself into what you thought we should be wearing. You should just explore, see what’s going on there, and talk to people. There are so many interesting creations and founder stories. Even if they make one or two products, talk to them. I firmly believe that big partnerships are important and small partnerships are important. This is what makes retail so interesting. There is no set rule on the size of a brand or its size. We are really balancing a mix of well-known brands and new brands. It’s not one way or the other.
Penney’s chief dealer said the number of 170 brands for the launch was just the start. “You will see additional brands in the coming seasons.” Shopping Penney’s beauty department, Wlazlo added, “will be an ongoing discovery for our customers, both for well-known brands and for some newer brands.”
Once Sephora ended its partnership with Penney’s, to form a new one with Kohl’s, a direct competitor, a new beauty strategy had to be urgently developed. The competitive climate was compounded by Target, another competitor, forming a partnership with Ulta. The Kohl’s-Sephora and Target-Ulta deals were disclosed in December 2020, when Penney’s revealed she had started working on a new beauty program. That same month, Penney’s emerged from seven months of bankruptcy proceedings when Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management purchased Penney’s retail and operating assets.
Despite the urgent nature of the situation, “We have been very thoughtful,” Wlazlo said. âThere were no shortcuts or a feeling of ‘Let’s do this real quick.’
âWhen you see the physical space, as well as the online experience, you will actually understand not only the importance, but also the investment we are making in a truly superior shopping experience that demonstrates our commitment to our customers. and this category. “
She described the in-store beauty store environment as having natural wood tones, a soft white color, windows that are not covered for light to penetrate, and extended sight lines so that the beauty floor is visible from other parts of the store.
Wlazlo also said that JCPenney Beauty stores, as the department is called, will have “a unique position in the market with the type of partnerships we make and the brands we carry.”
The 10 Penney’s stores that operate the beauty salons are both close to cities and in more suburban locations in the United States. âIt’s not a test. He’s a pilot. We will learn if a brand (presentation) can be bigger or smaller, and if brands sell differently in certain markets. We will learn from the customer’s reaction. It’s really about getting as much learning as possible this year, âbefore the big rollout that will begin at the end of next year.
Penney’s beauty salons will average approximately 2,000 square feet and will be located in the space vacated by Sephora. But as Wlazlo pointed out, âThe beauty space is completely reinvented. It doesn’t look the same. It’s really super inclusive. We take great pride in saying that we are building a beauty business that meets the needs of our clients, regardless of age, gender, race, skin tone, hair type, even beauty regimen or budget. It really is a strategy for all customers – men, women, older, younger.
Before Sephora, Penney’s stab wounds in the beauty business were generally unsuccessful. Penney’s salon business, on the other hand, has always been strong over the long term. Therefore, Penney’s creates a synergistic connection between beauty and salons. âWhat you will see in our beauty area is that we have tripled our dedicated hair care footprint and a third of it will be textured hair. Our client wanted more choice of hair products.
Penney’s beauty institutes will have exclusives such as Mirabella, a prestigious brand, and Makeup Geek, a brand to customize your own makeup kits. Some exclusive Korean beauty brands and well-known brands like Revlon and Cover Girl are also part of the mix.
Wlazlo acknowledged that rebuilding the beauty industry was “a little nerve-racking, but with each passing day my level of confidence that it is right for our clients continues to grow.”
Among the services and benefits, beauty experts will be trained to help clients find the right shade and educate on the latest beauty tool.
Similar to JCPenney Salon, the new beauty company will participate in store-wide discounts and the Penney’s Rewards loyalty program.
The 10 Penney’s stores that will house the pilot beauty salons are in Davenport, Florida; Dearborn, Michigan; Greenville, North Carolina; McAllen and Mesquite, Texas; Niles, Ohio; Springfield, Missouri; Saint Cloud, Minnesota; Trumbull, Connecticut, and Whittier, California.