J. C. Penney (JCP) to Launch Men's Outdoor Apparel, Stock Up

Shares of J. C. Penney Company, Inc. JCP have rallied more than 19% yesterday. The uptick came after the company’s announcement to launch an in-house brand — St. John’s Bay Outdoor — within the men’s department in its stores. It will be available in nearly 600 stores and on from Sep 12.

Apart from this development, the company revealed that it is set to introduce an Outdoor Shop featuring St. John’s Bay Outdoor along with three new product lines namely American Threads, The American Outdoorsman and HI-TEC. The Outdoor Shop will be available in 100 selective stores from Oct 4, 2019.

Delving Deeper

The company is likely to benefit from this launch as more people will opt for outdoor excursions in the upcoming winter season. Markedly, American Threads is touted to be the company’s exclusive offering for the fall season. The brand is inspired by classic denim and workwear. It will include products that include a mix of quilted vests, sweaters and jackets.

The American Outdoorsman is the second product line that targets the casual adventurer. This fall collection offers specific features like waterproof pockets, moisture-wicking fabric, sun protection and quick dry for temperature regulation. Meanwhile, HI-TEC product line is known for its comfort and is built with DRI-TEC QUICK-DRI and DRI-TEC WATERPROOF. It also features HI-TEC WIND RESISTANT, HI-TEC THERMO and HI-TEC FLEX technology.

Post the addition of Outdoor Shop, J. C. Penney will be a part of the roughly $900-billion outdoor recreation industry that aims to provide functional and durable apparel at a reasonable value to its customers.

Talking of St. John’s Bay Outdoor, this category includes a wide range of rugged shirts, jackets and pants for outdoor adventures or a night out. The outdoor category will enhance customers’ shopping experience and strengthen its private brand portfolio.

Markedly, St. John’s Bay Outdoor comes incorporates a technology that makes regular outdoor activity easier. The products include a mix of sweaters, jackets, vests, graphic tees and woven shirts with prices in the range of $11.99-$44.99. Further, the line offers sherpa-lined cotton and waterproof seam-sealed rain jackets as well as quilted puffer vests.

Will Outdoor Help Drive Turnaround Process?

The launch is being viewed as a revival attempt by J. C. Penney as the departmental store chain is struggling to drive sales. Notably, sales declined 7% in second-quarter fiscal 2019. Further, the company is grappling with a tough retail environment as consumers are less prone to visit malls.

In a bid to get back on track, J. C. Penney had earlier introduced pint-sized Sephora makeup shops and running hair salons, per sources. Additionally, the company has collaborated with ThredUp to sell second-hand clothing. The company also launched a store checkout process, which is expected to streamline tasks and enhance customer experience. In this regard, it has tested a centralized pickup in returns to improve in-store experience and omni-channel customer experience. Moreover, the company shut the appliance business to focus on core categories.

Although a new outdoor shop is not enough to pare woes, the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company’s efforts to attract customers may help uplift investors’ enthusiasm. Shares of the company have lost 2.8% year to date compared with the industry’s decline of 31.2%.

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