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JCPenney ready to replace Sephora in hundreds of stores

Sept. 19, 2022 Updated Mon., Sept. 19, 2022 at 8:47 p.m.

Starting in October, JCPenney said it will add its JCPenney Beauty to 300 stores by early 2023 and then 300 more by spring 2023.  (Tribune News Service)
Starting in October, JCPenney said it will add its JCPenney Beauty to 300 stores by early 2023 and then 300 more by spring 2023. (Tribune News Service)
By Maria Halkias Dallas Morning News

JCPenney Beauty, the retailer’s own beauty department created to replace departing Sephora in-store shops, is ready to be rolled out to hundreds of stores.

Starting in October, JCPenney said it will add its JCPenney Beauty to 300 stores by early 2023 and then 300 more by spring 2023. The first batch includes Penney stores in Denton, El Paso, Fort Worth, Frisco, Houston, San Antonio and Tyler in Texas.

The Texas-based retailer in October debuted its beauty concept that it created with Thirteen Lune, an inclusive e-commerce site selling new BIPOC-founded brands. (BIPOC is an acronym that stands for Black, Indigenous and people of color.)

Sephora didn’t renew its 15-year contract with JCPenney and moved its in-store shops to Kohl’s, which has said it plans to put Sephora in all 1,100 of its stores. About 600 are open now. Target has been adding Ulta Beauty in-store shops to its stores.

For a while longer, Sephora shops are in both Kohl’s and JCPenney stores. Sephora’s contract with JCPenney ends this year and its shops will continue to operate through the transition to the new JCPenney Beauty experience, Penney said.

Penney’s new shops, which launched last year in 10 JCPenney stores including Town East Mall in Mesquite, sell 250 brands with more than 60 created by BIPOC, and or female founders. Dozens more such brands will be added in the coming months such as Shades by Shan, JCPenney said.

“Inclusivity is core to JCPenney. We exist to celebrate and serve diverse, working families across America which is why we are leading the charge to foster beauty inclusivity on a national scale,” said Michelle Wlazlo, chief merchandising officer, JCPenney.

Wlazlo worked with beauty executive Nykaio Greico and founder of Thirteen Lune, to create the new shop that responded to consumer demand for brand diversity and inclusion. Relevant: Your Skin Seen by Nyakio Grieco, Reina Rebelde and Mirabella are among JCPenney Beauty’s exclusives.

“By creating a fully ownable beauty experience, JCPenney can quickly adapt and respond to our customers’ wants and needs,” Wlazlo said. “Last year’s preview launch allowed us to learn from our customers and evolve the JCPenney Beauty experience.”

The new shop is also online with a virtual makeup try-on and skincare quiz to help customers find products.

The retailer said it has trained 3,000 dedicated beauty associates to respond to the needs of different skin tones.

JCPenney is pitching its new beauty departments as a complement to its 630 hair salons which it said employ 5,000 stylists with knowledge to work with various hair textures. It’s also providing education for customers and its stylists to help low-income cancer patients with hair loss care through a partnership with San-Francisco-based nonprofit HairToStay.Since its 2020 bankruptcy reorganization Penney has been operating its corporate office mostly from a closed store in Lewisville, but has plans to move back into leased space in its former heaquarters on Legacy Drive in Plano later this year. Penney was purchased out of bankruptcy by the two largest U.S. mall operators, Simon and Brookfield.

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