How J.C. Penney is moving on from its Sephora partnership

J.C. Penney’s new in-store and online beauty destination replaces its retail deal with Sephora, which turned sour after a legal spat

Inside J.C. Penney's new beauty hub

As its beauty partnership with Sephora comes to an end, US retailer J.C. Penney has revealed how it is going to retain its beauty shoppers.

Mirroring its shop-in-shop concept with Sephora, the department store will launch its own beauty destination, J.C. Penney Beauty.

Moving with the rise of e-commerce since the outbreak of Covid-19, J.C. Penney Beauty will also be available online via jcp.com, featuring more than 170 beauty brands.

For its new offering, J.C. Penney has selected an eclectic and inclusive range of brands, with something designed to suit every customer ‘no matter their age, gender, race, skin tone, hair type, beauty regime or budget’, said the retailer.

The majority of brands stocked are from the masstige beauty category, with the other half of the business balanced with mass and prestige brands.

This includes Skin Gym, e.l.f Cosmetics, CoverGirl, OPI and Dolce & Gabbana.

“Rooted in inclusivity, J.C. Penney Beauty grew out of direct feedback from our customers,” said Michelle Wlazlo, Executive VP and Chief Merchandising Officer at J.C. Penney.

“Together with our brand partners, we have reimagined every aspect of our beauty experience, from the highly curated assortment and welcoming space to the integrated loyalty programme and all new e-commerce experience.

In-store space replaces Sephora beauty destinations

“We are incredibly proud to bring J.C. Penney Beauty to life in stores and online this fall.”

The new beauty shop-in-shops are expected to open early this month and across ten J.C. Penney destinations, with all outlets expected to sport the beauty hubs by 2023.

Meanwhile, its online store will go live on 15 October.

The introduction of its own-brand beauty destination was a decision that J.C. Penney was forced to make following the deterioration of its relationship with LVMH-owned beauty seller Sephora.

Last year, the two companies entered a legal battle after Sephora reportedly threatened to walk out on its 14-year agreement with J.C. Penney, after the retailer furloughed its staff due to the pandemic.

J.C. Penney countered Sephora’s attempts by filing a lawsuit to block the exit.

Both businesses dropped their legal dispute and managed to reestablish their relationship for the sake of formalities, but were unable to continue doing business together.

Months later, Sephora signed a deal with Kohl’s to become its official in-store beauty partner, dropping J.C. Penney.

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