J.C. Penney Co. Inc., continuing to step up its turnaround efforts and weed out weak businesses, is discontinuing its year-old subscription service for men’s big and tall merchandise.
The retailer said Wednesday it was ending its partnership with Bombfell as of Friday.
“While we’re no longer accepting new clients, you can still work with your stylist to place new orders through Feb. 28, while supplies last,” the company said.
Penney’s said it will continue to accept returns and issue refunds for any returns received by April 15.
“After Feb. 28, we encourage you to visit jcp.com for all your big and tall style needs,” the company said.
With the service, Penney’s customers answered questions about their style and measurements and either by request or automatically, received packages of five of the store’s big and tall items. They were either selected by the customer, or the items would be selected by a stylist in which case customers wouldn’t know the contents of the package when it arrived at their door. Customers would try on the clothes and buy some or all of the items, and return whatever wasn’t wanted, free of charge.
Earlier this month, the Plano, Tex.-based Penney’s said it was dropping major appliances including refrigerators and washing machines and would step up efforts to bolster its apparel business, which it has been doing for several seasons, especially with special sizes, casual and active labels, including private and market brands. Penney’s show-roomed the appliances and did not own the products.
Penney’s subscription service charged a $20 styling fee with each order that included a stylist, free shipping and returns. Bombfell managed the logistics with Penney’s. Bombfell is an amalgamation of the words “bombshell” and “fellow.”
Subscription services have been gaining popularity. Among those that have been around for a while are Kidbox, Birchbox, Trunk Club and Stitch Fix. Some fashion subscriptions charge a fee, others don’t. They save consumers the hassles of shopping malls and stores.
Penney’s has been suffering from its debt load and declining sales and is seeking a chief merchant. The position is vacant. Men’s wear, particularly big and tall sizes, has recently outpaced other categories at the store.