For sports devotees, June certainly resonates as one of the calendar’s most fruitful months, with the NBA and Stanley Cup finals, the Belmont Stakes, the French Open, golf’s U.S. Open Championship, the World Cup and Major League Baseball giving fans 30 days of gut checks and heart-stopping feats. This June just brought another major sports announcement, as JCPenney will launch Fanatics Inc. shops in 325 of its stores in an ambitious plan to sell team apparel.
A release from the Plano, Texas-baseddepartment store chain declared that news of the partnership comes “just in time for Father’s Day,” which, along with the aforementioned list of athletic competitions, could further convince consumers that though their dads would certainly appreciate a tie or a tool set, something sports-related might have more of an emotional kick.
Purchase critiques aside, in strengthening the bond with Fanatics that it initiated four years ago with its web-based Sports Fan Shop, JCPenney is offering curated goods (that will definitely delight supporters of the Golden State Warriors and Washington Capitals) representing all major sports leagues. No matter if one’s passion lies with college squads, professional teams or a combination, the locations will make going gaga over their accomplishments that much easier.
“Fanatics offers fans the world’s largest collection of official sports brands, merchandise and apparel in the industry,” James Starke, senior vice president and head of merchandising for JCPenney, said of the increased connection with the Jacksonville-headquartered sportswear, sports equipment and merchandise retailer. “We’re delighted to combine their best-in-class assortment with a dynamic in-store experience that offers sports fans a one-stop destination for all their local team apparel needs. Combining a stunning specialty store environment with the unparalleled power of our online Sports Fan Shop provides JCPenney a unique competitive advantage, driving spend and frequency of visits to both stores and JCPenney.com.”
With more than 860 stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, JCPenney is taking a huge step through the implementation of the Fanatics shops. But wait, there’s more! The department store plans to open another 325 Fanatics shops by back-to-school time, bringing the total to 650. (Maybe a chance to don their favorite team’s jersey or an affiliated product while kids are in school will soften the blow of seeing summer come to an end. Always look on the bright side of life, after all.)
Given that JCPenney and Fanatics plan to sell curated gear they will refresh each sports season, we hope to see the previously mentioned championship holders receive a little love before their offseasons. Come August, we here in Philadelphia will be excited to see how JCPenney, with 27 stores in Pennsylvania, honors the Eagles, who have already proven a marketing titan thanks to their Super Bowl LII win. If the company calls the right plays, going heavy on gear commending the Birds will likely keep JCPenney from worrying about retail sales declines, which have plagued it since the start of 2018.
As for promo, the move further solidifies Fanatics as a titan in the licensed pro sports merchandise space. In May, the company was granted a license to produce NFL fan jerseys for Nike. And in 2017, it got a $1 billion investment from SoftBank, bringing its total value to $4.5 billion.