- JCPenney launched a new bedding brand, called Linden Street, on Tuesday.
- The new brand comes just over a week after the department store filed for bankruptcy.
- JCPenney said that refreshing its merchandise offering would be a key part of its transformation strategy in bankrutpcy.
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JCPenney launched a new bedding brand on Tuesday, just over a week after the department store filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Called Linden Street, the brand’s products are 100% cotton and available in a neutral palette, with sheets starting at $US40 and quilts and comforters starting at $US90 and going up to $US220.
“We are excited to offer this new bedding collection as customers look to create a comfortable retreat with high-quality, inviting styles they can cherish for seasons to come,” Stacey Shively, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of the home division, said in a press release about the brand’s launch.
The news that a company currently in bankruptcy proceedings is launching a new brand may come as a surprise. But, as Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail pointed out, JCPenney “still has to keep the business moving forward and start to remedy some of the weaknesses for when it emerges from bankruptcy.”
In its bankruptcy filing, JCPenney said that “re-envisioning its merchandise offerings” would be a top priority in its plan to return to sales growth.
“Home is a good place to start as there is much better [growth] in the near term than for apparel, which will remain in the doldrums for the remainder of this year,” Saunders said.
JCPenney is also making sustainability more of a priority. It added in its press release announcing the Linden Street brand that the new line includes products that are OEKO-TEX Certified, which means that they have been tested and confirmed to be free of 300 harmful substances. The company added that the brand’s packaging is sustainable and the labels are recycled poly.
But, Saunders said, launching one or several new brands likely won’t solve JCPenney’s problems.
“It is no good just throwing a few new brands into the mix. The aim should be to create a coherent offer and with strong lifestyle brands that are supported in-store and online by good marketing and point of sale materials,” he said. “We have seen JC Penney engage in piecemeal solutions before and they did not work at all well.”
Other retail experts worry that launching a new brand could come as too little too late.
“I think their principal focus should have been and now should be on dramatically improving the quality and value of the brands they already support,” Mark Cohen, who directs the retail studies program at Columbia Business School and is the former CEO of Sears Canada, said.
“It takes a very long time to introduce and establish a new brand in virtually any category and time is something JC Penney did not have pre-pandemic and certainly does not have now.”
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