The Importance of Private Brand at JC Penney

JC Penney
Siiri Dougherty, senior vice president and senior general merchandise manager for the retailer

This week’s Dallas Business Journal features a great article on private brand at J.C. Penney that includes a interesting interview with Siiri Dougherty, senior vice president and senior general merchandise manager for the retailer.

The Nicole Miller effect: Why private brands and collections are important for J.C. Penney

After J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) CEO Marvin Ellison emphasized private brands in the retailer’s last earnings call, the company is offering an exclusive collection by designer Nicole Miller.

Fort Worth-born Miller, who now resides in New York, first partnered with Penney 10 years ago to offer clothing, handbags, jewelry and other products in stores. To celebrate a decade with J.C. Penney, she is designing a 10th anniversary nicole by Nicole Miller collection that will include 34 different looks, including pencil skirts, ankle pants, leggings, sweaters, dresses, jackets and other products, for $38 to $120 per piece. It will be sold exclusively at 600 Penney stores and on from Sept. 4 through as long as supplies last.

We talked to Siiri Dougherty, senior vice president and senior general merchandise manager for the retailer, about the importance of private brands, which are created and produced by J.C. Penney, and exclusive collections such as Miller’s, which are envisioned by a designer and then sourced and manufactured by J.C. Penney

How did you bring Nicole Miller’s line to J.C. Penney store?
It was from customer research that we identified what we call “the missing middle,” that 35-ish customer. We did a lot of focus groups and a lot of those women would say “I can’t find something that fits me,” whether that was in body or lifestyle or personality. So we launched our own private brand, but we also thought it was important to look at designer partnerships. We thought who better to design women’s clothing than someone who knows how to dress women, how to be versatile and stylish. Nicole Miller is a mother and a friend and active in life.

Read the entire article.

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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.