By  on September 26, 2011

DALLAS — J.C. Penney Co. Inc. sports a more contemporary, colorful look and a new layout designed to spur accessory and shoe sales at its store opening this week at TimberCreek Crossing here.

The 105,000-square-foot unit is the chain’s first inside the city’s interstate loop since it shuttered a store in 1999 a mile away at NorthPark Center. TimberCreek is a new retail center that also features a bilevel Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart.

“The community in this area is a perfect match,” said Jeff Hicks, district manager for Penney, which is headquartered in nearby Plano.

Ironically, some of the newest details are throwbacks, like mannequins with heads to feature hats and the inclusion of toys for the first time in at least 20 years.

Everything is organized around a central square featuring a Sephora shop, fashion jewelry, hosiery, handbags and shoes to spur add-on sales.

Instead of hugging a wall, men’s and women’s shoes are in the middle of the store near related apparel. The department highlights Call It Spring contemporary shoes by Aldo, which are rolling out to 500 units by Oct. 1.

A new look in infants featuring ecru walls and pastel animal graphics will be installed in all stores, as will the holiday toy display, but it remains to be seen whether the chain will keep Barbie dolls and video games in store after Christmas, Hicks said. Adjacent boys and girls departments are brightly hued in turquoise, pale green and purple.

The hair salon has been completely overhauled with a bigger, separate 900-square-foot layout of hair and body products in front of the service area. Inside, it features modern gray and green wallpaper, sleek blond wood and black fixtures and a coffee bar. IPads are due within two weeks both for service consultations and as a perk for clients.

In another nod to technology, QR codes are scattered throughout the store inviting shoppers to seek broader assortments via smart phone.

Penney’s hopes to boost business among men aged 25 to 44 by decorating its contemporary department with urban concrete block wallpaper, abstract metallic art and a bigger selection of sportswear by JF, Claiborne and Joe Joseph Abboud. Five mannequins — more than in older stores — sport current styles.

“We’re really working on expanding the men’s modern business,” Hicks said. “We’ve done a lot of research, and a man wants to come in and see it head to toe and say, ‘I’ll take that.’”

Juniors sports a loft-like feeling with pipe fixtures, brick wallpaper and sawhorse-style tables topped in cork-printed laminate.

New bar fixtures maximize hanging inventory in the Worthington career shop but occupy less space to provide wider aisles. Throughout the store, sight lines have come down to 84 inches, and no merchandise dangles out of reach on walls as in older units, Hicks pointed out.

Fine jewelry features contemporary Nicole by Nicole Miller pavé diamond and sterling looks introduced this summer, and the department has an updated look with glass-enclosed corner tower cases.

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