Penney showers attention on brides-to-be

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J.C. Penney is throwing a bigger-than-usual party for brides-to-be this year to attract new customers.
By holding a consumer event for brides-to-be and updating its gift registry Web site and catalog, the multichannel retailer hopes to do a better job of making these young consumers loyal customers.
"When people come in and register, a lot of them are first-time customers," J.C. Penney spokeswoman Kate Parkhouse said. "Once they register and experience the store, it's about making them customers for life."
The Plano, TX, company also sees the gift registry strategy as an extension of its recent steps to become more relevant to young, trendy customers. For example, this fall J.C. Penney launched Sephora, the beauty retail brand, in its stores and on its site at www.jcp.com. The collaboration is reportedly performing well. Other new brands from J.C. Penney with this audience in mind include Ambrielle lingerie and the Studio by JC Penney modern home collection.
To promote its gift registry, J.C. Penney held its first-ever solo bridal exposition Jan. 23 in New York. The company typically participates with other retailers and manufacturers in various bridal expositions around the country every year.
The event, a one-time occurrence, was promoted in local newspapers and on bridal site The Knot.com as well as via e-mail. The program included a breakfast for editors from bridal publications. After the doors opened to consumers at 10 a.m., events consisted of a cake demonstration, tips from various wedding experts and the chance to win door prizes. About 200 people attended.
This year, J.C. Penney has a new face in its marketing for its gift registry, "Lost" cast member Emilie de Ravin. She is featured in imagery on the recently updated site, www.jcp.com/registry, and in the new gift registry catalog.
The site and catalog have been updated to feature a wider selection of merchandise available from J.C. Penney. This includes new brands such as Ambrielle and Flora Nikrooz, also a lingerie brand, and the Studio by JC Penney collection. And there's a wider selection of some previously featured names such as the Cooks line of kitchenware and appliances. Merchandise includes formalwear, jewelry, bedroom furniture and bedding, bathroom accessories and tabletop.
Both vehicles also showcase the retailer's free wedding registry planner and organizer and the availability of a personal site to anyone who registers with J.C. Penney.

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