JCPenney has started to transform its department stores into the shop-in-shop format that CEO Ron Johnson envisioned. The first shops were recently unveiled at its location in New York City’s Manhattan Mall.
But there’s much more going on behind the scenes down in JCPenney’s home state of Texas.
The retailer has a prototype store at an undisclosed location in Dallas. Maria Halkias at the Dallas Morning News was given a tour of the store earlier this week, and Johnson himself asked that the store’s location be kept a secret.
She writes that the look of the store is “new and different,” and that it “doesn’t exist in the market today.”
The Dallas Morning News describes the prototype store:
“Instead of one big traditional department store, think of streets lined with shops and a town square in the middle.
“Individual shops have their own fixtures and lighting. Counters with stools — Apple store mainstays that started with the genius bar Johnson created a decade ago in his former job — are a common feature in the street mockup.
“Checkout counters with cash registers are replaced by seating areas with sofas or long tables with built-in iPads and stools where shoppers can sit and access the Internet. At the end of the mocked-up street is a snack bar with a seating area and small tables.”
Employees will all carry mobile checkouts with them, and there will be “multipurpose bars” around the store where shoppers can pay, return products or get help.
Vendors will be coming to Dallas to look take a tour as well. All of JCPenney’s 700 largest stores will look like this one by the end of 2014.
Nina Garcia, a judge on “Project Runway” and fashion director at Marie Claire, also got a tour of the prototype. She recently teamed up with JCPenney as the brand’s “style voice and fashion collection curator.”
Garcia tweeted a glowing review of the prototype store earlier today. She declares it a “game changer”: