Arizona will be leaving with J.C. Penney.

The department store chain has recast its 29-year-old Arizona private brand with changes in the styling, marketing, in-store displays and product development cycle. This effort will hopefully reverse weak sales trends and ride what’s expected to be a good back-to-school season for retailing overall.

“Frankly, over the years we sat on our laurels with Arizona. It got too basic and lost touch with the teen customers,” James Starke, Penney’s senior vice president and head of merchandising for men’s, children’s, home and jewelry, told Women’s Wear Daily in a 2018 report.

“The last time we did anything significant was when we launched shops in 2012,” Starke added. Arizona is Penney’s largest volume brand, doing almost $1 billion in revenue. “It spans from kids to teenage boys and girls. It’s grounded in denim, but there are also fashion accessories, handbags, footwear, outerwear, sportswear. It’s a huge brand. It was time for a comprehensive head-to-toe relook at the brand. Internally, we call it a ‘remix,’” he said.

Image via J.C. Penney Newsroom

“Among the changes to Arizona, the product development cycle time has been reduced to 26 weeks for the bulk of the merchandise, or about 10 weeks less than the standard. The Arizona in-store shops have been reset to call out trends, such as color blocking and distressed jeans, and highlight outfits with photos of models in a variety of shapes and sizes. Also, Arizona shops were re-merchandised for shopping across categories so it’s easier for teens to pull outfits together, with tops, jeans, shoes, handbags, accessories and fashion jewelry in one location. Items getting a bigger play include flex jeans for four-way stretch, high-waist jeans, relaxed V-neck T-shirts, and clean denim skirts. Screen print T-shirts and sweatshirts have been curtailed and dress lengths on several styles are shorter. A new Arizona logo was unveiled earlier this year and separate Arizona Instagram and YouTube channels were started to strengthen ties to teens,” according to a 2018 Women’s Wear Daily report.


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