14258 Wed, 04/16/2008 - 12:08pm
NEW YORK–Marking the latest in a flurry of new home lines, J.C. Penney will bow DormLife, its first exclusive total home collection for the back-to-college crowd.
DormLife, which bows in July, will brand bedding, bath, decorative pillows, seating, rugs, desks, shelving and storage.
The line will feature a modern, fun and functional aesthetic in vibrant colors, “with a cohesive theme and packaging built around it,” Jeffrey Allison, executive vice president of home and custom decorating, told HFN during the first day of the retailer’s two-day analyst meeting here.
It will include multifunctional goods such as seating that can morph into a sofa, chaise lounge or chair.
DormLife was entirely sourced and designed in-house, Allison said, noting that the retailer is long overdue for a proprietary, dorm collection that can compete with the back-to-school offerings at Bed Bath & Beyond, for example.
DormLife marks the retailer’s third exclusive home launch this year.
J.C. Penney will launch Linden Street, a neo-traditional private brand, in July.
American Living, its home and apparel collection designed by Ralph Lauren, bowed last month. So far American Living’s sell-through has been a mixed bag, executives said.
“There are things that are wildly over [performing], and things that are a bit disappointing,” Mike Ullman, chairman and chief executive officer, said during the analyst meeting. “However, there is not a resistance to the price” of the line that is marketed at the high end of J.C. Penney’s mix, he said.
Ullman warned of a “very difficult outlook” for 2008 and 2009.
“I’ve been in business for 39 years and I have not seen an environment that is as unpredictable as this environment,” he said.
To that end, J.C. Penney has come up with a “bridge plan to get through this phase.” That plan includes opening fewer stores—36 instead of 50, which will save the retailer $20 million, and tightly managing inventory.