Fashion’s New Mass: Oscar, J.C. Penney Said in Talks

J.C. Penney and Oscar de la Renta are said to be in talks about bringing the designer’s cachet to the chain through the launch of a new label.

A new venture also might make financial sense, as de la Renta has resisted many attempts to sell his firm in recent years, refusing to yield control of the 38-year-old brand. His licensing business is quite lucrative and well organized, and the designer could stand to reap huge rewards from royalties if a Penney’s deal should go through, considering the chain’s national presence.

For instance, Bisou Bisou was projected to become a $500 million business within three to five years at Penney’s as it expands into other categories. De la Renta’s name is more broadly known — and that’s outside of the teen- to twenties-oriented contemporary category — and could potentially have a bigger impact in the mass channel. Of course, the companies would have to keep a tight control on image to avoid the pitfalls that have historically befallen designer brands that have been licensed out into too many categories.
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