JCPenney’s beauty makeover is going chain-wide

Discussion
Source: JCPenney
Sep 20, 2022

Sephora’s shops inside of JCPenney stores are long gone with the beauty retailer having found a new home inside of Kohl’s. Penney, for its part, has moved on with a new “hyper-inclusive” beauty concept of its own that will be available at all the chain’s locations by next spring.

The department store retailer first began testing JCPenney Beauty shops inside 10 of its stores last October. It expects to have around 300 stores outfitted with the shops by early next year with the balance completed by the second quarter.

The shops will continue to build on Penney’s partnership with thirteen lune, an online destination for Black- and brown-owned beauty brands. Around 20 percent of JCPenney Beauty’s products will be connected to thirteen lune. The number of thirteen lune selected items in Penney’s beauty shops has more than doubled since the pilot last fall. 

Penney, which lost some of the prestige brands sold in Sephora’s shops, has focused its Beauty shops on more “masstige” brands, which are both innovative and priced to appeal to a wider audience. The in-store shop concept, according to a press release, “celebrates its diverse customers’ unique selves by making inclusive beauty products widely accessible via assortment, availability, and price point.”

JCPenney’s beauty makeover is going chain-wide
Source: JCPenney

“Inclusivity is core to JCPenney. We exist to celebrate and serve America’s diverse, working families which is why we are leading the charge to foster beauty inclusivity on a national scale,” said Michelle Wlazlo, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, JCPenney, in a statement. “By creating a fully ownable beauty experience, JCPenney can quickly adapt and respond to our customers’ wants and needs. Last year’s preview launch allowed us to learn from our customers and evolve the JCPenney Beauty experience as it expands nationwide and online, making it unlike any other beauty retail experience.”

Penney is taking steps to introduce the concept to its customers even before shops are in place in local stores. The full JCPenney Beauty assortment is available for purchase on jcp.com. The online experience includes a virtual makeup try-on experience and a skincare quiz to help customers determine their individual product needs.

The retailer is counting on its rebranded in-store Salons to complement its beauty push. The shops provide a full integrated customer experience with more than 250 unique beauty brands ranging from value priced to prestige. Penney has added more than 60 BIPOC- and or female-founded brands since its pilot.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will JCPenney Beauty’s inclusivity branding and its pairing with JCPenney Salons draw customers to its stores? Will the customers attracted to its Beauty shops and Salons be more likely to purchase products from other departments than those who shopped at Sephora’s shops inside Penney’s stores?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Overall success will hinge on JCP’s entire store strategy and consumer experience. It won’t just come from its Beauty segment."
"Sounds like an “A” for effort initiative. But the apparel assortments and the in-store presentation and storytelling have miles and miles to go."
"I think the “inclusivity” angle is so ubiquitous now, I’m not even sure consumers know what it really means."

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12 Comments on "JCPenney’s beauty makeover is going chain-wide"


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Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

If a fantastic brand like Sephora did not save JCPenney, then its new beauty concept certainly won’t. Of course, the beauty concept itself will likely generate some sales, just as Sephora did – although I doubt it will have anywhere near the pulling power. However the issue is that the rest of the proposition is such a mess and so all over the place in terms of positioning that few customers will come out of beauty and shop for other things. So, a few points for JCPenney doing something new, but no award until they sort out the rest of the offer.

Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

In the hyper-competitive category of leading cosmetics brands, JCPenney Salons have a long way to go. It’s an important category, so it’s understandable that they’re expanding, but it’s not in the same class as Sephora or Ulta, and I doubt that it will attract more traffic.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

I’ve got to give it to JCP. They don’t ever give up trying things. Sadly they are too far gone.

Will the Salons’ customers be more likely to shop in other departments? First, the customers have to get to the Salons.

Carol Spieckerman
BrainTrust

You can’t blame JCPenney for trying but its latest beauty play feels cobbled together. Sephora it ain’t, but showcasing inclusive brands at least brings a point of view. Of course, Sephora, Ulta, and other beauty biggies also feature inclusive brands but they can get buried in these retailers’ vast assortments. Beauty is big right now and JCPenney had to do something.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

It doesn’t matter what the new beauty department at JCPenney sells, or how beautiful it is, when it is surrounded by the mess that’s on the sales floor at the JCP stores I have visited lately. Empty racks and merchandise piled on the floor does not a good shopping experience make. It takes the whole package to attract shoppers.

Dick Seesel
BrainTrust

Sephora was a consistent success inside JCPenney — often the only bright spot at a store that has floundered for the past decade. While JCP owes its customers a meaningful beauty assortment, this is unlikely to turn the company’s fortunes around.

On the subject of “diversity and inclusion,” providing beauty products for people of color is a worthwhile goal but only if the idea translates throughout the rest of the store. Delivering a truly inclusive merchandising strategy is a complex task.

David Spear
BrainTrust

Despite Sephora’s absence, I do think JCPenney Beauty can make profitable inroads and I like their initial strategy. Yet, overall success will hinge on JCP’s entire store strategy and consumer experience. It won’t just come from its Beauty segment. Not more than four months ago, we saw Old Navy’s inclusivity project end with tons of unsold inventory and an exit from their strategy. Let’s hope JCPenney’s Beauty launch took notes and learned from recent events.

Raj B. Shroff
BrainTrust

I struggle with knowing what JCPenney’s value proposition is at this point.

If shoppers are already going to JCP, Beauty might be something they visit. However I doubt shoppers seek it out; their better options include Ulta, Sephora, Target, Macy’s and e-commerce. I think the “inclusivity” angle is so ubiquitous now, I’m not even sure consumers know what it really means. And if Thirteen Lune becomes more popular, they’ll want to bail on JCP because the partnership will only inhibit their growth.

DeAnn Campbell
BrainTrust

Becoming known for offering a great experience around inclusive beauty products is a smart move for JCPenney since this is an underserved market that Ulta and Sephora don’t adequately fill. If they can maintain the quality and consistency of their offering around an enjoyable experience that is connected across online and offline channels, they should see good results.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

Sounds like an “A” for effort initiative. But the apparel assortments and the in-store presentation and storytelling have miles and miles to go. Recent additions such as Frye hint at an evolving future, but it’s baby step after baby step. JCP has a deep well of brands that are available to them. They are arguably second tier brands, but hey, that’s the hand they are playing at the moment. Where is the “store of the future” prototype? Where is the three year capital investment plan to pull it all off?

David Slavick
BrainTrust

JCP needs to maximize revenue on a per square foot basis. This is a smart move. It makes the store more attractive overall. A skew to support black and brown customers is likewise a sharp merchandising decision because this segment of the female population is 3x in category spend. Need to complement this with affordable on trend fashion, footwear as well as home/decorating. Hopefully the associates working the new JCP Beauty/Salon are well trained to deliver a highly satisfying experience.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

“We’ll always have Parisenney’s”

Honestly if they made a sale for every thread we’ve had about this place, they’s not be doing half bad! They’re doing the best they can — at least I hope they are — but everyone and her kid sister knows Sephora was a big loss; to say it won’t be as big a loss as many fear because few Sephora shoppers made it out of that department (into the rest of the store) may well be the best spin to put on it.

My intuition tells me a salon has more cross-shopping power than a counter — simply because it’s deeper in the store — but I think it’s less likely to be visited as well … so sort of a wash.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Overall success will hinge on JCP’s entire store strategy and consumer experience. It won’t just come from its Beauty segment."
"Sounds like an “A” for effort initiative. But the apparel assortments and the in-store presentation and storytelling have miles and miles to go."
"I think the “inclusivity” angle is so ubiquitous now, I’m not even sure consumers know what it really means."

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