The beauty market is booming, and JCPenney has finally found a formula that seems to work for the department store.
The company announced today that its JCPenney Beauty concept, which launched in fall 2021 and has been testing in 10 brick-and-mortar pilot locations, will now begin to roll out to stores nationwide. Starting next month, JCPenney Beauty will debut in 300 stores by early 2023 and eventually be in 600 stores by spring 2023. The first openings are set for Oct. 21 across the country.
JCPenney’s performance in the beauty category has been challenged in recent years. Its shop-in-shops with Sephora were terminated in 2020 amid the height of the pandemic and its financial insecurities.
The move may have been short-sighted: Rival Kohl’s quickly picked up the Sephora deal and has expanded it to all its doors. Kohl’s estimates the partnership could reach $2 billion in annual sales by 2025.
However, following the break-up with Sephora, JCPenney told FN in December 2020 that it was developing “a new, inclusive beauty concept” that would provide shoppers with “a wide array of product” — and it has made good on its word.
JCPenney Beauty was created in partnership with Thirteen Lune, an e-commerce platform established in 2020 to promote the discovery of BIPOC-founded beauty brands. With the larger rollout of the new store concept, Thirteen Lune’s offering will have a presence in stores nationwide and comprise roughly 20% of the JCPenney Beauty assortment.
Michelle Wlazlo, EVP and chief merchandising officer at JCPenney, said in a statement, “Inclusivity is core to JCPenney. We exist to celebrate and serve America’s diverse, working families, which is why we are leading the charge to foster beauty inclusivity on a national scale.”
Since launch, JCPenney Beauty has added nearly 100 new brands — 60 of which are BIPOC- and/or female-founded, with dozens more set to join in the months ahead. The assortment includes exclusive brands and products, including Relevant: Your Skin Seen by Nyakio Grieco, Reina Rebelde, Mirabella and Shades by Shan (launching 2023).
Wlazlo added, “By creating a fully ownable beauty experience, JCPenney can quickly adapt and respond to our customers’ wants and needs. Last year’s preview launch allowed us to learn from our customers and evolve the JCPenney Beauty experience as it expands nationwide and online, making it unlike any other beauty retail experience.”
The retailer also recently expanded its Beauty concept to online, where it offers a virtual makeup try-on and skincare quiz to help customers find products that meet their unique beauty needs.