JC Penney will open Joe Fresh store-in-stores

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Associated Press

Posted on July 25, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 25 at 8:00 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — J.C. Penney will begin offering Canadian fast-fashion label Joe Fresh in stores next spring as part of its plan to introduce more store-within-stores at its department store locations.

About 700 Joe Fresh shops will open within J.C. Penney stores in April 2013, offering women's clothing such as dresses, t-shirts, denim and silk blouses. Joe Fresh will also be sold at jcp.com

Financial terms were undisclosed. Joe Fresh has been growing in the U.S. and the deal offers it a chance to expand at a rapid pace.

J.C. Penney has been focusing on restructuring its stores to add more store-within-a-store concept with beauty product seller Sephora and others. It currently sells MNG by Mango, a Spanish clothing chain, in the store-within-store concept, and on Aug. 1 will launch similar boutiques for Levi's and other jeans brands.

J.C. Penney's goal is to launch two or three shop-in-shops per month with a goal of reaching 80 to 100 by 2015.

The mid-priced department store operator, based in Plano, Texas, has been seeking a way to stem declining sales. Under a new CEO, former Apple Inc. executive Ron Johnson, J.C. Penney is overhauling every aspect of its business from its pricing to the brands it carries. But concerns have been growing about the company's ability to turn its business around. It posted a bigger-than-expected loss and a 20 percent drop in revenue in the first quarter.

Earlier this month, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered the retailer's credit rating further into junk status, saying changes have yet to take hold.

J.C. Penney shares rose 15 cents to $21.16 in premarket trading. The stock is off 41 percent since the beginning of the year.

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