J.C. Penney to open millennial-friendly "Jacques Penne" pop-up shop

J.C. Penney is opening a holiday pop-up shop in New York's SoHo called "Jacques Penne" in an effort to change millennial consumer perception of the brand, previously written off as a struggling mall dinosaur.

The virtual experience of Jacques Penne - J.C. Penney

The holiday pop-up shop will feature unique merchandise from top J.C. Penney brands including Michael Strahan and Libby Edelman. There will be activations in the pop-up shop with Disney channel actress Lara Marano, blogger Danielle Bernstein and Brooklyn and Bailey of YouTube fame. Nicole Richie has curated a selection from the retailer's holiday collection specifically for the pop-up.

J.C. Penney is also mobilizing its influencers to share the experience on their social media. Richie has 4 million Instagram followers and 5 million Twitter followers, while Brooklyn and Bailey have 4.5 million subscribers to their YouTube channel.

Marci Grebstein, CMO for J.C.Penney said, "By leveraging this key shopping period, we are looking to surprise holiday shoppers with the level of relevant merchandise available at J.C. Penney, updating their perception of our brand this season and beyond."

J.C. Penney has struggled with the millennial consumer who tends to write the chain off as uncool. Jacques Penne is a play on the fancified nickname shoppers have given the chain to upgrade the perception from discount mall chain to a more elite shopping experience.

“There’s a general perception in that market that ‘maybe JCPenney isn’t for me,’” says Grebstein. Grebstein explained that the challenge the retailer faces is to reconcile consumer perception with positive consumer feedback once the consumer learns more about the prices and product actually offered by the chain.

To that end, Jacques Penne is also offering an integrated 360-degree virtual and mobile shopping experience with the pop-up. The goal with the space and experience is to reach consumers through a new way of shopping.

J.C. Penney has been hemorraghing profits this year: it reported a net loss of $128 million for Q3 this year, compared to a net loss of $67 million for Q3 last year. The chain came in behind Kohl's for highest percentage of Black Friday discounting, having reduced merchandise by an average of 66%.

Jacques Penne will be open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 446 Broadway in SoHo in NYC. The online Jacques Penne experience launches Thursday, December 7th and will remain open online through January 7th

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