Penney’s Hipster Move: Fashion Flair for Arizona

J.C. Penney wants to put Arizona back on Gen Y’s fashion map through a new ad campaign and remake of the $950 million private label.

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The focus groups made a variety of suggestions, which Penney’s has followed, including jazzing up the fashion offerings and redesigning the store environment.

“We were struggling with the brand’s ID and there was a disconnect within the Arizona store presentation,” Bergus said. “There was no consistent packaging. It seems like we changed the logo every year and branding was everywhere. Now the brand is synergized and cleaned up across all divisions — children’s, teens and home. We’re excited about what Arizona stands for and has to offer. Teens told us they wanted to be inspired on how to dress, not just shown items that were scattered throughout the department. We changed the lighting, the layout and the music, and are now playing the songs and artists teens want to hear.”

Arizona’s in-store fashion presentation now focuses on coordinated outfits instead of single items, with energetic and vibrantly colored displays and graphics, including visual collateral from the ad campaign.

Among the junior trends expected to be hot are vintage-wash boot-cut and narrow-leg jeans, poncho tops, chunky cable-knit hooded sweaters, beaded camisoles, cheerleader skirts and knit sweaters, especially Marilyn Monroe-inspired off-the-shoulder styles.

For young men, trends include deconstructed denim jeans with bleach stains and holes, Western-inspired shirts and reversible thermal tops.

“Teens want hip, cool clothing and we are offering that now with Arizona,” Bergus said. “We have a nine-member design team that travels the globe seeking out emerging trends. Generation Y shoppers are so very fickle — they want to see a new trend in the store every six to eight weeks, and we are able to deliver that with our sourcing and production capabilities.

“We’re just now kicking off the back-to-school business and we’re ahead of our sales plan. We have major momentum going with this new approach. We feel the best is yet come.”
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