JCPenney has become TikTokers' unlikely beauty obsession
- JCPenney has replaced its Sephora shops with JCPenney Beauty sections.
- TikTokers are discovering the retailer as an alternative to beauty stores like Sephora and Ulta.
"So I heard about on TikTok that there's this new JC Penney Beauty place," creator Kailey Jordyn addresses viewers as she starts her TikTok video. "This could seriously be a problem."
While JCPenney has been around since 1902, its beauty department has gone through some more recent evolutions. The department store teamed up with Sephora in 2006, but the beauty brand has since moved into Kohl's stores instead. JCPenney introduced its own beauty department in 2021 and began rolling out the concept in stores through 2023.
JCPenney's revamped beauty department has become a destination for finding beauty brands TikTokers can't get at other beauty stores.
"I think JCPenney is trying to get brands that Sephora doesn't have, Ulta doesn't have, more indie brands," makeup artist Adam Ryan says in a TikTok video as he points to a JCPenney Beauty displays with makeup from Lime Crime and KimChi. "This is incredible!"
Jcpenny???? This is so cool!!!♬ original sound - Adam Ryan
JCPenney is also setting itself apart with products from diverse founders. Last summer, the retailer launched KimChi Chic Beauty in more than 600 stores, beauty trade publication Happi reported. And JCPenney recently partnered with Black-owned fragrance brand Maison Chemin to carry its fragrances in 50 stores, Black Enterprise reported.
"A lot of representation in JCPenney," creator Alexis Androulakis told viewers as she pointed out the KimChi line in a TikTok video tour. "Gen Alpha should be coming to JCPenney Beauty."
Replying to @karyns087 When y’all kept tagging us in @Adam Ryan’s video that @JCPenney had created their own in-store beauty experience in @JCPenneyBeauty by merchandising brands (WITH testers people!!) that you wouldn’t normally find at other retailers, I thought it was the absolute BEST use of their pre existing Sephora space possible. And we HAD to do a tour… So we hunted one down in Staten Island . Let’s walk around and show you a glimpse of what they’re offering and some impressions. Seeing all of the indie beauty brands felt like discovering hidden gems in a treasure trove. It’s wonderful and refreshing that they're curating unique selections, giving you as a consumer the chance to discover beauty brands and products that break the mold but may have not hit big retailers physical shelves due to budget constraints. The representation and stock they had is something I think that’s definitely worth diving into! Will you be visiting JC Penney Beauty? Tell us what brands you were hoping to see in-store♬ original sound - The Lipstick Lesbians
Once a popular department store inside many American malls, JCPenney has struggled to revive its appeal.
JCPenney Beauty is a part of the company's $1 billion reinvestment plan for long-term growth and increased customer loyalty. The plan, announced in August 2023, includes store updates, technology upgrades, website improvements, and supply chain optimization.
"By creating a fully ownable beauty experience, JCPenney can quickly adapt and respond to our customers' wants and needs," Michelle Wlazlo, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at JCPenney said in a statement to Retail TouchPoints.
Retail analyst Neil Saunders told Business Insider via email that the plan is "a big step from the dearth of investment over the past few years."
Beauty allows the retailer to introduce new customers to the brand when makeup and skincare are in high demand. Elf Beauty, maker of $2 lip liner and $7 mascara, saw sales surge 76% in the second quarter of 2023 compared to the same period the prior year. Beauty retailer Ulta hit $2.5 billion in net sales last quarter, an increase of more than 6%.
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