Joe Fresh’s expansion into the U.S. just got real. Since October of last year, the Canadian fashion brand known for its affordable and stylish offerings and supermarket department beginnings has opened six freestanding stores south of the border, with plans for more. Now, thanks to a newly-inked deal with J.C. Penney, Joe Fresh is set to launch shop-in-shops in 683 of the Texas-based retailer’s locations across the U.S., over the next four years.
The agreement with Joe Fresh is part of a large scale overhaul J.C. Penney is embarking on that will involve repositioning the mid-range department store chain’s brand and remodeling its stores. “We are moving from being a promotional department store toward a unique classification — the first-ever ‘specialty’ department store. It’s entirely organized by specialty shops and 100 percent staffed by specialists who are experts in products,” J.C. Penney’s chairman and CEO Ron Johnson said.
“It’s going to be exciting. It’s bold. It’s aggressive,” said Joe Mimran, founder of Joe Fresh, of J.C. Penney’s plans. “I buy into the vision — the wider aisles, the self checkout, the cafe, the juice bar, the seating arrangements, the room being offered to the brands and the fact that each brand can have its own voice.”
He added, “For us, it looked like a great opportunity to get a very large footprint in the U.S. very quickly and to do it with someone who is visionary.” The 683 Joe Fresh shops will range from 1,000 to 2,500 square feet, and will be designed and branded by the Toronto-based label.
J.C. Penney has not performed well over the last few years, but its transformation into a department store format that’s worked well in Japan, China and Korea is certainly intriguing. And thanks to one of its first tenants, Joe Fresh (I mean, who doesn’t love Joe?), I’m looking forward to visiting a J.C. Penney store for the first time in, well, ever.
Image via WWD