This week JCPenney rolled out a rather massive launch of their newest brand exclusive, MNG by Mango, to 77 department stores and online. The MNG by Mango shops average around 1,000 square feet and the retailer has ambitious plans to expand the exclusive to 600 Penny’s next Fall.
Mango’s addition to JCPenney marks the 3rd built-out shop for the retailer which already applies the concept for Sephora and Call It Footwear. In the junior arena, the retailer has a strong line-up of exclusive diffusion lines including I [Heart] Ronson and Allen B. MNG by Mango is different from those in that it targets a more contemporary customer as opposed to juniors, and has the big branded MNG by Mango shop concept. It’s the first fast fashion brand for the retailer – actually the first fast fashion brand in a US department store – so it will be really interesting to follow its development. Off the top of my head, Selfridges in London has Topshop and that does seemingly well, but the type of department store and notorious high street label is visibly a different scenario from JCP’s MNG by Mango.
Here’s a glimpse of the collection I saw online.
The Mango collection sold in JCP stores is bought from the regular Mango range, though it’s almost like an exclusive because there are only 12 Mango stores in the US. And we all know that exclusivity in department stores is the wave of the future. I’m willing to bet that most JCP shoppers don’t know what Mango is, so there will need to be adequate build-up to establish brand identity. Heck, to most JCP shoppers, the concept of fast fashion is probably still relatively new, although H&M has opened dozens of doors in the US in recent years. MNG by Mango brings that high street/fast fashion concept to JCP with new deliveries every 2 weeks.
Now while I haven’t set foot in a JCPenney in years, I do know that contemporary is not their strong point, and seemingly that’s the void that MNG by Mango attempts to address. A review of their established brands include Liz Claiborne, St. John’s Bay and Worthington which are all true womenswear brands. There’s also a.n.a. and diffusion line Nicole by Nicole Miller (another exclusive) which answer to contemporary. However, there’s definitely a big gap between ladies and a full array of junior brands. JCP is right in trying to cater more to the contemporary customer (even if I myself wouldn’t say Mango is contemporary). Anyway, the one big issue I see with MNG by Mango is the price range. With most items fall around $50 – $100, it seems a little too “aspirational” if you will, for your average JCP shopper. Both the current contemporary collections of a.n.a. and Nicole by Nicole Miller are significantly less expensive than MNG by Mango. But there has to be something that merits the price, right? How about quality? It’s almost a given that the quality is higher for MNG by Mango but are JCP customers willing to pay more for it? Will MNG by Mango hit upon trends much better and in advance of their contemporary counterparts that will merit the extra dollars? Or is JCP luring in a new contemporary customer?
All of this remains to be seen. I do admit that I pretty much like everything about the launch of MNG by Mango for JCPenney. The exclusivity, the in-shop concept and a strong contemporary collection for the retailer all make sense to me – the only thing that scares me is the price range. JCP shoppers, will you spend your dollars on MNG by Mango?