By  on July 22, 2009

NEW YORK — Speed, selection and customer service.

J.C. Penney Co. Inc.’s strategy for winning shoppers in New York City rests on those three tenets.

With more than 100 fixtures designed specifically for the retailer’s first unit in the city at Sixth Avenue and 33rd Street — mainly to provide extra capacity for more merchandise — the store is expected to be more productive than typical units, said Pete Sadler, Penney’s district manager for metropolitan Manhattan.

A catalogue desk and desk will allow shoppers to place orders or pick up items ordered online or from the catalogue. Nearby is same-day delivery, the gift registry and the hiring kiosk.

Sales associates in the shoe department will use handheld scanners to request items from the stock room. A screen in the stock room — on a different level of the store — will show the requested style and size as well as three other suggestions the customer might like. Employees will pull the shoes and send them in a small elevator to the sales floor.

“There’s more of a digital presence in the store,” said Mike Boylson, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Penney’s. “It’s about customer convenience and really enriching the customer experience. We’re looking for ways to connect with our customer when she’s in the store.”

Color-coded columns signify departments: Pink is for girls and green is for boys. Children’s dressing rooms have green or pink doors, coordinating wallpaper and fun house mirrors. Using columns to communicate brand names and logos is unique to the flagship.

Special sizes will be “a big deal for us because we have a broader fashionable assortment,” Sadler said. Penney’s sees strength in petites and plus sizes for women and big and tall for men. “Petites may take off in this area due to the diversity of the [customers.] ”

The Plano, Tex.-based retailer wants New Yorkers to see that folks from Texas know how to celebrate. More than 30 events are planned for the July 31 opening through Sept. 26, including appearances by Charlotte Ronson, Michele Bohbot, Allen Schwartz and Nicole Miller, and photo ops with Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza and singer-musician David Cook.

For the launch of Joe by Joseph Abboud, a men’s wear line exclusive to the flagship for 30 days, Sixth Avenue between 32nd and 33rd Streets will be turned into a runway with NBA players past and present modeling the clothes. There will be product demos, fit clinics, trunk shows and giveaways, including a Paul Frank bicycle and a Yankee VIP experience for two. A soft opening on Sunday is being billed as a sneak preview for preferred customers, but the store will be open to the public.

Doorbusters for the launch include bath towels for $2.99 and $3.99 and a Hunk pillow for $3.99. A circular with the headline “NYC style. JCP prices” touts Arizona girls’ polo shirts, regularly $19.99, reduced to $9.99 and Decree plaid leggings, originally $14, marked down to $7.99. A Penney’s spokesman said there will be back-to-school doorbusters, too.

“Because of the density of the population, the New York launch is heavily influenced by outdoor media,” Boylson said. “Our goal is to get people off the trains and streets and into the store. We have our national TV and radio campaign and we’re also doing market overlays. The Manhattan store will have a halo effect on our [other area stores].

“The immediate trade area in Manhattan had a low penetration for us,” Boylson said. “Our extended trade area includes the outer boroughs, regional commuters and day-trippers. A significant amount of new customers are going to be going to that store.”

The average household income of target consumers is $66,000, Sadler said.

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