Retail

JCPenney To End Clothing Subscription Partnership

JCPenney

Retailer JCPenney has decided to end a clothing subscription service as it continues to struggle financially, according to a report by Reuters.

The company wants to focus more on profitable apparel sales, and also move away from appliances. JCPenney started the menswear subscription service in 2017 with Bombfell.com. It offered high-end, private-label clothes as well as national men’s clothing brands in regular shipments for people who signed up.

Customers were sent five items of clothing specially picked by a stylist. The shoppers could try on the clothes in their own homes and had seven days to decide what they wanted to keep and what they wanted to send back.

The service included a $20 styling fee with every order and it boasted a “dedicated personal stylist, free shipping and returns.” The fee was applied to kept clothes. The department store chain relied on Bombfell to handle the logistics of the operation.  

Bombfell was founded in New York in 2011 and is one of many clothing subscription services available, including Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Wardrobe service, Nordstrom’s Trunk Club and Stitch Fix.

The migration of shoppers online has hurt the retailer’s business, and it’s had to close stores and cut jobs. It’s currently in the throes of a multi-year turnaround plan being shepherded by CEO Jill Soltau.

Earlier this month, the retailer announced it wasn’t going to sell appliances anymore, and would focus on apparel that would be more profitable. It’s also renovated a number of stores. The company has only generated a quarterly profit three times since 2012, and it’s not expected to generate one in Q4.

JCPenney’s stock prices have dropped 70 percent in 12 months and were below $1 late in 2018. On Tuesday (Feb. 26), the stock closed at $1.25.

The subscription service featured big and tall clothing, and current subscribers can use the service until Feb. 28. Last November, Trent Kruse, J.C. Penney’s head of investor relations, said the big and tall sector was profitable for the company.

“Men’s apparel outpaced the company comp with particular strength in big and tall, active and seasonal categories,” Kruse said.

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