Amidst reports that there is hope for the 80s bastion of US fashion and frolicking, the customers who frequent the Plano, TX-based retailer J C Penny’s might want to take their last trip to the food court. According to Sandra Guy of the Sun Times says they are moving out of the mall and into free-standing stores. While the stores will still be taking their traditional place in the Chicago suburbs (no State street store yet) the stand-alones will be the second-largest market in the country.\
For the full scoop see below”
–Joanne Molina for Second City Style
Penney shifting to off-the-mall strategy
RETAILING | Chicago area will be biggest market for new stores
BY SANDRA GUY firstname.lastname@example.org
J.C. Penney will open nine suburban, off-mall stores in the next two years, making the Chicago region the biggest market for the retailer’s new stand-alone stores.
The openings include a return to south suburban Matteson, where Penney closed a store at Lincoln Mall seven years ago.
As the JCPenney in Woodridge prepared for Sunday’s opening, color consultant Angelique Carpenter stocked shelves in the Sephora store within the store.
The new Penney’s in Matteson will be located across the street from the old site, and will anchor the southeast side of the redeveloped Lincoln Mall’s “Power Center.” The Power Center will include a Target store and other big-box retailers.
Penney’s strategy is to open free-standing stores near families in growing suburbs that welcome “lifestyle centers” — outdoor malls with restaurants, movie theaters, landscaped walkways and stand-alone stores that have their own parking lots.
The new, one-story stores measure 85,000 to 105,000 square feet, slightly smaller than Penney’s traditional two-story mall stores at 100,000 to 165,000 square feet. The new stores sell no furniture.
“The stand-alone Penney’s stores fit the shoppers’ lifestyle of not wanting to park in a mall parking lot, but to park at the store, run in, do their shopping and go home,” said John Jones, Penney’s district manager for Chicago’s North Side.
The Plano, Texas-based retailer is tackling new urban territory, too, by opening a store in the heart of Manhattan’s midtown shopping district, one block from rival Macy’s Herald Square flagship store. The New York store, set to open in fall 2008 or spring 2009, will be in the Manhattan Mall.
Spokesmen said it’s too early to say Chicago’s Loop will be next for Penney’s.
“The cost of real estate is a factor” in building a store in downtown Chicago, said Tim Lyons, a Penney’s spokesman. “We are opening 250 stores nationwide through 2011, so we will be busy.”
The first Chicago-area off-mall Penney’s opened Sunday in a strip mall in west suburban Woodridge.
It features a Sephora cosmetics shop front and center; a hair salon; a higher-profile jewelry section; a window department with curtains, blinds and window treatments; and a redesigned intimate apparel department featuring Penney’s new Ambrielle brand.
Penney’s relies on a mixture of its own apparel labels such as Arizona and Worthington and high-profile exclusive brands like “nicole” by Nicole Miller and “Liz & Co.” by Liz Clairborne.
Kim Picciola, retail analyst at Chicago-based Morningstar, said Penney’s expansion will pressure its rival, Kohl’s, and bring Penney’s closer to its core shopper.
Kohl’s announced last week it will start its own expansion binge by opening 110 to 115 stores in fiscal 2007 in all parts of the country. Kohl’s plans to have more than 1,200 stores by 2010, compared with Penney’s 1,300 by 2009.
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