J.C. Penney store

J.C. Penney is turning its gaze to the outdoors.

The retailer will open an Outdoor Shop for men in 100 stores and online on Oct. 4. The shops will offer apparel from a new St. John’s Bay Outdoor private label as well as three new national sportswear brands: American Threads, The American Outdoorsman and Hi-Tec.

The shops will measure around 800 square feet and will be featured prominently within the men’s department, the retailer said. They will have modern fixtures, bold graphics and mannequins dressed to inspire adventure and exploration of the outdoors.

Their anchor will be St. John’s Bay Outdoor, which will include sweaters, jackets, vests, graphic T-shirts and woven shirts, with prices ranging from $11.99 to $44.99.

That collection will be offered in 600 stores and online beginning Thursday.

Other new brands include American Threads, which is centered around denim and workwear, that will be exclusive to Penney’s for fall. The assortment will include also quilted vests, sweaters and jackets.

The American Outdoorsman will offer knitwear, hoodies, vests, jackets and pants with waterproof pockets, moisture-wicking fabric, sun protection and quick dry properties.

Hi-Tec will offer shirts, pants, fleeces, vests and outerwear.

“As America spends more time outdoors, J.C. Penney is launching an entirely new outdoor category for men that delivers what he wants and what aligns with his lifestyle,” said Michelle Wlazlo, chief merchant. “St. John’s Bay Outdoor serves as the centerpiece of our Outdoor Shop and holds a unique place in our private brand portfolio. With this expansion, J.C. Penney is taking part in the nearly $900 billion outdoor recreation industry.”

Other active lifestyle brands carried at Penney’s include Nike, Adidas, Champion and Puma.

Penney’s has been struggling to reinvent its business for the past several years. In mid-August, it partnered with the ThredUp resale site to open 30 thrift shops in its stores.

But its challenges continue. In the second quarter, the company reported a net loss of $48 million, or 15 cents per share in the quarter ended Aug. 3, compared with a net loss of $101 million, or 32 cents per share in the same period last year.

On an adjusted basis, the loss was 18 cents per share, an improvement from 38 cents a year earlier, and better than analysts’ expectations for a 31 cents loss, according to FactSet.

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