J.C. Penney last week announced that 325 of its stores now have Fanatics shops. Plans are to add 325 more Fanatics locations by the start of the back-to school season. Fanatics, a sports apparel brand, has been selling its merchandise online since 2014. The shops-in-shops will feature Fanatics merchandise from local colleges and professional teams, just like the online store. The Fanatics shops will be located in 50 of the most popular sports markets and will feature a premium Fanatics shop with mounted flat-screen TVs, wall graphics, sports paraphernalia, and an oversized headwear wall. There will also be an iPad connection to the online Sports Fan Shop.
In a press release, James Starke, J.C. Penney’s senior vice president and head merchandising, stated that Fanatics has the largest selection of official sports brands, apparel, and merchandise in the world. We are delighted to offer a unique in-store experience for sports fans that combines their best-in class assortment with an exciting in-store experience. This will allow them to provide a one-stop shop for all their team apparel needs. The combination of a beautiful specialty store environment and the unmatched power of our online Sports Fan Shop gives [J.C. Penney] an unparalleled competitive advantage that drives spend and frequency at both JCPenney.com and in-store visits.
Total Retail’s View: J.C. Penney is pleased to announce this important news. The department store chain suffered an adjusted loss in the first quarter of $69 Million and has lowered its forecasts for the rest of the year. Also, sales fell by 4 percent. J.C.Penney also announced that it would cut 360 jobs in its stores and corporate headquarters. This is on top of the more than 5,000 layoffs that J.C. Penney had made in 2017 after it decided to close almost 140 stores. J.C. Penney’s in-store Sephora stores have been a bright spot. The Fanatics model mirrors this partnership and offers a similar opportunity.
Sears Stores Shut down in Lands End, Standalones Closed
Lands’ End is closing more of its Sears Holdings Co. in-store stores and opening smaller standalone shops. In a June 12 conference, Jim Gooch, CFO and COO of Lands’ End stated that the apparel company has been distancing itself from Sears Holdings Co. since 2014. It has been closing more of its in-store shops in order to open smaller standalone locations. Gooch said Lands’ End closed the quarter with 14 stores, and plans to open “three to four more stores” during the year to expand its customer-focused unichannel strategy.
Total Retail’s Take: Lands’ End, this is a good move. Sears understands this, considering the company’s financial woes have many industry experts believing that it is on the verge of bankruptcy. The Lands’ End call had more positive news. Revenue for the first quarter rose to $299.8million, compared to $268.4million last year. Gooch said that Delta Air Lines contributed some of the increase after Land’s End provided new uniforms for 64,000 employees in May. This deal was made as part of Lands’ End Outfitters, which received many new school uniform accounts. American Airlines Group Inc is currently planning for it.
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