JCPenney Hopes New Outdoor Apparel Line Help Boost Sales

Shares of JCPenney took a leap of faith on Tuesday, jumping nearly 20 percent following the retailers announcement of plans to add a new apparel category for men. The announcement also made mention of the launch of a new outdoor shop, which will be available both online and within 100 of its more than 800 stores, starting next month. 

Effectively, the retailer said the roll out of this new St. John’s Bay Outdoor line will begin on Thursday, this week.  This is a new collection of “rugged shirts, jackets, and pants” the company describes; it will be available in approximately 600 of the chain’s physical stores.  In addition to this, though, JC Penney also plans to launch a store-within-a-store on October 4, called “The Outdoor Shop,” which will feature this St. John’s Bay outdoor line as well as a handful of other outdoor/sportswear brands. 

JC Penney chief merchant Michelle Wlazlo explains, “Created exclusively for JCPenney by our talented in-house product development and design team, St. John’s Bay Outdoor serves as the centerpiece of our Outdoor Shop and holds a unique place in our private brand portfolio.”

It is estimated that the new St John’s Bay Outdoor apparel line will offer items at a price range of $12 to $45.  

She goes on to say, “As America spends more time outdoors, JCPenney is launching an entirely new outdoor category for men that delivers what he wants and what aligns with his lifestyle.  With this expansion, JCPenney is taking part in the nearly $900 billion outdoor recreation industry by offering functional, durable apparel.”

Again, news of this launch soared JCP stock. Of course, it is important to note that while the announcement helped to elevate JCP share value up 16 cents, to $1.01, that is still down 50 percent on the year.  And sales continue to struggle, falling 7 percent last quarter.  With last year’s struggle to keep stores open at all a new product line might still not be enough to save the company from the fate so many others in the industry have suffered the past few years.