JCPenney begins its financial recovery with a private brand strategy that includes revamping many of its long-standing in-store labels. The first to face a makeover is Xersion, the department store’s activewear line originally launched in 2008.
After 13 years, JCPenney treats Xersion to a design overhaul that includes the new use of performance-enhancing fabrics and inclusive sizing. The new fabrics feature a textile that will be exclusive to JCPenney called Everair, which is moisture-wicking, breathable, and modeled after Lululemon’s patented textile approach. The latest Xersion collection recently launched online and in-store, and includes pieces for men, women, and children, with prices ranging from $12-$70. Athleisure and activewear sales have increased during the Coronavirus pandemic, which could help JCPenney meet demand and appeal to a captivated audience of consumers. Additionally, the focus on activewear could help the department store recover its apparel sales in general, as the sector’s popularity is predicted to grow throughout 2021.
The rebranding of Xersion is the first of many efforts planned for this year as JCPenney looks to build upon the popularity of private labels. Target follows a similar private label strategy for its food, apparel, and decor sectors, all of which have led to sales increases and the growth of loyal followings. By taking a page from Target’s book, JCPenney could rebuild relevance with department and big box consumers and level itself against competitors like Nordstrom or Kohl’s, which has undergone a digital and in-store transformation of its own recently. While all department stores faced foot traffic declines during the pandemic according to a Gartner report, building up its activewear offerings could help JCPenney slowly draw consumers back to its brick and mortar locations. However, promoting the collection online and via its app could drive e-commerce sales and help boost JCPenney’s virtual presence, which could in turn catch the attention of younger consumers.
JCPenney’s active updates to its activewear line could help it grow a new following in the new year. The attention to detail and consumer preferences could boost sales and set the stage for a series of rebranding efforts by the department store.