J.C. Penney looks to outdoor sports enthusiasts to reel in more consumer spending

Penney is also creating outdoor shops with national brands — American Threads, The American Outdoorsman and HI-TECH — in about 100 stores.

By guest author Maria Halkia from Dallas News

Plano-based J.C. Penney will be going up against sporting goods retailers such as Bass Pro Shops and Academy Sports + Outdoors for a piece of the men’s outdoor lifestyle category.

Penney is expanding into the more rugged clothing with its own St. John’s Bay brand, both online and in about 600 of its 830 stores starting Thursday.  The new merchandise, which Penney’s in-house product development and designers created, includes shirts, sweaters, jackets and pants in functional and durable styles.

It is also creating outdoor shops with national brands — American Threads, The American Outdoorsman and HI-TEC — in about 100 stores and online starting Oct. 4.

Michelle Wlazlo, Penney’s chief merchant, said the new men’s clothing is a response to the fact that Americans are spending more time outdoors. Sports, hobbies and activities contribute to a USD 900 billion a year outdoor recreation industry in the U.S.

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