JCPenney To Partner With Legendary British Designer Terence Conran

The exclusive Private Brand, by Conran & Company and called Design by Conran, will be sold in approximately 300 of the stores and online from spring next year.

Jill Webb, brand development director at Conran & Company, says, ‘Working with JCPenney we believe we have the opportunity to fill a key gap within their home offer, delivering the easy-living style of life for which Conran has become famous with a distinct hint of British charm.’

The line of furniture, upholstery, lighting, textiles and accessories will be created in collaboration with JCPenney product developers.

Terence Conran says, ‘It is an incredibly exciting time for us to be working with JCPenney as they embark on a huge wave of change under the excellent Ron Johnson [JCPenney chief executive].

‘The collaboration is also a great boost for British design in a significant market and gives our design team the opportunity to create a truly democratic collection of exceptional quality. Personally it is a dream come true to make our work available to a huge and knowledgeable audience of design enthusiasts across America.’

The Conran line will be sold as part of JCPenney’s forthcoming Home World sections, which will sell pieces by designers including Martha Stewart, Jonathan Adler, Michael Graves and Bodum.

Each Home World section will be housed within a new installation space measuring anything from 19 – 200 square meters.

JCPenney said in its earning presentation “We are also announcing today a partnership with Sir Terence Conran, founder of Conran’s, founder of Habitat and legendary retailer, designer and restaurateur from the U.K. Sir Terence Conran has created a remarkable retail force, a true lifestyle brand in the UK. And you may have seen it here, for example, at ABC (Home). His collection for us is truly astonishing. It runs the gamut from furnishings to decorative home to lighting. And it is designed to have not only affordability, but great value at every level in terms of the design aesthetic, the functionality and the contemporary nature of the presentation.”

Conran developed a range of contemporary homeware for Marks & Spencer last year.

The announcement of the evolution of the home department came earlier this year in the May 15 earnings presentation. The announcement included new partnerships and plans for the home area, which will involve the installation of all-new 20,000-sq.-ft. “Home World” neighborhoods anchored by Martha Stewart shop-in-shops, as follows:

Martha Stewart – “this will be the cornerstone shop within a completely transformed Home World by March 1, 2013 … We are tremendously excited to bring Martha’s vision to life in a brand-new environment.”

Jonathan Adler – “We are tremendously excited to announce a partnership with Jonathan Adler for the collection called Happy Chic … we believe that his collection will be completely unique, completely fresh and unique in department store retailing.

Michael Graves (Target’s original design license)- “We are also announcing today that Michael Graves is joining JC Penney as we transform our assortment. I have had the great luxury and honor of working with Michael Graves for many years. He has put together for JC Penney the most comprehensive and innovative assortment of goods that range from functional to giftware that I have seen. Uniting it is Michael’s consistent philosophy of ‘great design doesn’t have to be expensive.’ Innovative, fresh, compelling, this will truly be a remarkable addition to our mix.”

Bodum – “Another announcement we make today is the partnership with Bodum. Bodum Design started in 1944 in Denmark, currently led by Jorgen Bodum. This is a brand that many of us are familiar with for its functionality, for its innovation, for its trend, for its quality. And as we look to bring this to life we will do so in a manner that presents items from the collection in a manner never seen on this side of the Atlantic, with an all new shop environment.”

Royal Velvet – “… is a heritage brand that many of you are familiar with from JC Penney’s transformation will include in-store shops and ‘neighborhoods.’ With an exclusive license we are taking the quality of this collection and extending into other categories through the back half of the year in furniture, in window, and tabletop.”


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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.