Extending its run up of private and exclusive brands, J.C. Penney will introduce Peyton & Parker on Oct. 19 in nearly 400 stores and on jcpenney.com, WWD has learned.
Past private brand introductions by the retailer have generally been gender or category specific, but Peyton & Parker covers apparel, accessories and shoes for men, women and children as well as home decor.
“Our goal is to bring it all together so it’s a one-stop shop,” Sue Koger, J.C. Penney’s vice president of product development and design for women’s, told WWD. “We’ll have all the merchandise together on one pad so she [shoppers] can create this coordinated look for her and her family, with ease, so she doesn’t have to shop throughout the store. It’s a different gift-giving experience as well.”
Koger said Peyton & Parker will be displayed toward the front of the store by the women’s department, with square footage up to 400 square feet, depending on the location.
Much of the men’s and women’s products will be exactly duplicated in smaller sizes for boys and girls. In other cases, there will be some variation in silhouette, color or fabric, but a consistent look will be maintained, such as with plaids or shine as themes for the whole family to share.
The last time J.C. Penney created a cross-divisional private brand was in 2008, when American Living was introduced with Polo Ralph Lauren. That collection was discontinued after about five years. In 2011, the retailer bought the rights to Liz Claiborne, which spans many categories including fashion and home and continues to be a key brand in the J.C. Penney’s portfolio of products.
According to Koger, parents are increasingly dressing their kids in me-too versions of what they wear, most often for Instagram family photo moments on special occasions such as opening the gifts on Christmas Day. “We’re seeing more and more families wearing the same clothes in pictures,” Koger said.
J.C. Penney has also noticed the trend in its North Pole Trading Co. private label. It’s predominantly a home brand, but it does sell matching sleepwear for parents and children, which has proven to be a bestseller. J.C. Penney’s “extensive research” where customers identified “white space” in the assortment for a family brand was another reason to launch Peyton & Parker, Koger said.
Designed and developed by the retailer’s team, Peyton & Parker will offer classic “mix-and-match” pieces in limited-edition capsule collections each season, so if the product sells out, it’s gone until the next season. J.C. Penney hopes by marketing the collection as having limited supply, it spurs demand. It’s also a way to keep inventory manageable, though due to the social media campaign planned, the retailer is putting twice as much merchandise on its web site than it normally does with a private brand. Influencers will choose pieces from the collection and create their own content to reveal the product to their followers.
The first Peyton & Parker collection includes “cozy” plaids, buffalo checks, rose gold sequins, glitter, navy stripes, ivory cable knits and denim, all designed to mix and match. Sale prices for accessory and apparel items range from $8.40 for a girls’ glitter grown headband to $30.80 for a women’s plaid peplum top and $35 for a men’s puffer vest. Home decor items start at $11 for a cable-knit stocking.
For next year, J.C. Penney has set Peyton & Parker capsules for Valentine’s Day and Easter periods. Asked if the brand will be available later in 2019, Koger said, “We will determine how far it goes. We’re waiting to see what the reaction is.”
“Every family has a story to tell through photos and we created Peyton & Parker to give mom a fresh-style perspective when sharing her family’s lives on social media via fashionable squares,” said Val Harris, J.C. Penney’s senior vice president of product development and design. “We will be marketing this brand very differently. Since social media played such an important role in the inspiration of Peyton & Parker, we’re conducting a heavy influencer campaign to introduce the brand on Instagram, reaching our target mom. We are working with a targeted list of savvy mom influencers on Instagram who have an eye for tradition, photography and fashion to unveil this whimsical brand in a natural, organic way.”
In recent seasons, J.C. Penney has launched several exclusive brands including Michael Strahan and Shaquille O’Neal in men’s wear. Last year, the retailer rolled out lifestyle shops featuring merchandise by Libby Edelman, cocreator of Sam & Libby and Sam Edelman footwear. The shops and products were discontinued though some leftover product is being sold. And most recently, J.C. Penney launched Artesia, an exclusive boho-style women’s brand designed and manufactured by One World Apparel, a key supplier.
Private brands and lines exclusive to the store represent roughly 50 percent of J.C. Penney’s assortment, though it changes. It has also been pumping up national brands, particularly Levi’s, Nike and Adidas, as well as Arizona’s special sizes including husky boy and girls plus-sizes. The retailer is also striving to bring newness more frequently to the women’s apparel floor, and pump up dresses, contemporary, casual sportswear and special sizes.
Fashion is critical to J.C. Penney’s recovery, but the $12.5 billion chain has a long way to go. In May, Marvin Ellison resigned as chairman and chief executive officer to join Lowe’s. The search for a new ceo continues. J.C. Penney’s is also searching for a chief financial officer to succeed Jeffrey Davis who has resigned effective Monday to pursue another opportunity, which was not disclosed. Davis also holds the title of executive vice president.
Jerry Murray, senior vice president of finance, will assume the position of interim cfo, reporting directly to the office of the ceo. Murray joined the company in February 2016 after serving as cfo for Valassis, a multimedia marketing firm.