J.C. Penney Doubles Down On Nike As Kohl’s Gets Set For Under Armour

by MR Magazine Staff

The athletic wear wars are coming to a department store near you. J.C. Penney is raising its bet on Nike by carving out 500-square feet of space in prime spots at hundreds of its stores, to better showcase the booming sportswear brand it has long carried, just as rival Kohl’s gets set to start selling Under Armour at its 1,162 stores in March. The Dallas Morning News earlier reported the news. In addition to what is akin to a shop-in-shop at 600 of its 1,000 stores, Penney has added women’s, children’s and special sizes to its Nike assortment. The tactics by both chains illustrate the ongoing boom in activewear and how crucial the category is for driving traffic to department stores, something all retailers are struggling with right now. Both Kohl’s and J.C. Penney, along with Macy’s and Target, have reported weak holiday season sales and weak store traffic, and all of those chains have ramped up their activewear offerings. “We want to have the best expression of Nike in any department store,” Penney Chief Merchant John Tighe told the Dallas Morning News. “Nike is not only the largest athletic apparel brand, It’s also the largest apparel brand in the world.” J.C. Penney did not immediately respond to a request from Fortune for comment. According to the Dallas newspaper, Penney tested the Nike shop last summer in Portland, Ore., near Nike headquarters in Beaverton. The shops have enhanced graphics, updated fixtures, mannequins and a large signature Nike swoosh from the ceiling. Read more at Fortune.