J C Penney
The Apple-ization of J.C. Penney (JCP) continues.

The department store unveiled its new shop concept Monday, showing off -- among other things -- a 1,500-square-foot men's Levi's store with an exclusive "denim bar" that evokes Apple's (AAPL) fabled Genius Bar.

The shop, staffed with "Levi's fit specialists," boasts jeans in 88 finishes and 11 cuts, and is designed to "reinvent how men shop for jeans," said Ben Fay, executive vice president of real estate, store design and development during a tour of J.C. Penney's Manhattan store in Herald Square.

Shoppers can explore Levi looks on in-store iPads.The Levi's shop -- a different version of which has debuted in the women's area -- is one of six new shops to debut in 683 of Penney's stores this fall.

They reflect CEO Ron Johnson's master plan to purge Penney's stores of outdated merchandising fixtures from the 1980s and replace them with a "Main Street of shops" that better showcases trend-right brands and "experiences" -- much the way the Apple store does, he said back in February.

The shops are just one facet of Johnson revamp of the chain, which includes the bold, highly criticized -- and so far, failing -- elimination of most sales events and coupons.

Also taking a page from Apple, the Levi's shops (with jeans in the $40 to $45 range) feature mobile checkout, which will be rolled out to all Penney stores by the end of the year and various departments, said Fay, who also hails from Apple, where he designed its retail stores.

The mobile checkout option dovetails with Penney plans, announced last week, to ditch cash registers, cashiers and checkout counters in all stores by 2014 -- yet another nod to Apple's mostly cash-register free stores.

Shoppers can explore Levi looks on in-store iPads.Penney has also created shops for Arizona, it's exclusive denim brand, i Jeans By Buffalo, a European fast-fashion brand that's now exclusive to Penney's in the U.S; Liz Claiborne, another proprietary line; the preppie label Izod; and the J.C. Penney's men's and women's collection.

Once the first wave of installations are completed this fall, about 6,800 new shops will revamp nearly 700 Penney stores, ranging from about 500 to 1,500 square feet and larger.

With the makeover of Penney's stores into an array of shops, Johnson hopes to move the chain away from the market-share losing department store format toward one of the most robust retail sectors today: The specialty store.

When consumers want a "great product" today, they more often go to specialty stores like J.Crew and H&M or Williams-Sonoma (WSM), he said in February.

These days, they're looking for "curated" and edited merchandise, and that's what J.C. Penney will deliver, Johnson promised.

Stay tuned.

J.C. Penney's Ron Johnson Faces Turnaround Hurdles


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caryan60

The new shops are gorgeous and much easier to shop in.

August 15 2012 at 8:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe

JCP was a favorite store for our family for years. Now we seldon go into JCP at the mall because, while there may be alot of merchandise, there is nothing that appeals to us to buy, even if the old great sales were still available. Too bad, a really good store bites the dust!

August 12 2012 at 5:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
xavier

check out other stores with no check-out, most people want someone to help them., what about the seniors who don't use computers, " not my problem" attitude.I don't see it working because most people who buy $45 levis want someone to ring it up. I don't buy Levis made in Vietnam, Mexico, Thailand, etc. jobs for the USA are needed here not oversea"s. If you shop JCP your helping the problem continue.

August 06 2012 at 10:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
xavier

check out other stores with no check-out, most people want someone to help them., what about the seniors who don't use computers, " not my problem" attitude.I don't see it working because most people who buy $45 levis want someone to ring it up. I don't buy Levis made in Vietnam, Mexico, Thailand, etc. jobs for the USA are needed here not oversea"s. If you shop JCP your helping the problem continue.

August 06 2012 at 10:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
xavier

check out other stores with no check-out, most people want someone to help them., what about the seniors who don't use computers, " not my problem" attitude.I don't see it working because most people who buy $45 levis want someone to ring it up. I don't buy Levis made in Vietnam, Mexico, Thailand, etc. jobs for the USA are needed here not oversea"s. If you shop JCP your helping the problem continue.

August 06 2012 at 10:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tumbacan

Get used to Mitt Romney's management style for America.
Right after it files for bankcruptcy it will reopen overseas under cheaper management
and Johnson will bank a few million dollars for his brilliant idea.

August 04 2012 at 11:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JOSEPH

Johnson better wake up and realize that his doing away with sales and coupons is not working.

It's Human Nature that people love sales and coupons. It make them feel like they are getting a bargain.

July 25 2012 at 8:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rjen164497

The biggest change Penny's needs is to get rid of the idiot running it.

July 25 2012 at 7:22 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Rhianon

I will still buy my Levi's at Kohls because I can use a $10.00 coupon & added percentage off to make them cheaper.

July 25 2012 at 3:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
moeelmore

I kind of dropped Penney's due to changes and because I could never find a sales person when I needed one. Now they are going to feature Levis. When levis took all their factories overseas/outside of the US and also supported anti 2d amendment forces I quite buying Levis or Levi products like Dockers (pants for fat but white boys). Now with the new feature I have one more reason to give them a pass.

July 24 2012 at 11:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply