By  on September 29, 2010

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. on Tuesday said it will open three stores next year as part of its plan to generate $1 billion in sales growth through new retail expansion over the next five years. Penney’s long term plans call for opening 75 new stores by 2014.

The first three stores are slated for Dallas; Daly City, Calif., which borders San Francisco, and Glenarden, Md., about 10 miles east of Washington. Penney’s has existing stores in all three markets, which cater to middle-income shoppers.

While Wal-Mart Stores Inc. slowed construction of SuperCenters amid the weakening economy and Gap Inc. has said it’s not planning to open new stores in the near term, Penney’s believes the markets it’s identified are underserved by its stores, so it will intensify its presence. The Daly City and Glenarden stores will open in the spring and the Dallas unit will bow in the fall.

Penney’s has an aggressive store-renovation program. By October, more than 750 units will have been renovated during 2010, including 76 major renovations, which took place in California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New York and Texas. Penney’s is aggressively expanding Sephora beauty boutiques. The retailer said stores with 1,500-square-foot Sephora installations are performing 1.5 percent better those without them. Other store improvements include in-store shops for new brands such as MNG by Mango, Call It Spring by Aldo, and new fixturing for the rollout of Liz Claiborne across 30 categories. Findmore interactive in-store fixtures are also making their way through the store fleet. Consumers can purchase from jcp.com using the technology.

Penney’s is investing $160 million on the improvements out of its $500 million capital- expenditure budget for the year.

The retailer hopes to complete the major renovations of more than 375 stores by 2014.

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