J.C. Penney Opens Joe Fresh Shop-in-Shops; Analysts Already Working on Another Plan B

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Photo: Najlah Feanny/Corbis

After the Toronto-based brand announced plans to take over 1,000 to 2,500 square feet of floor space (for the next four years) in J.C. Penney stores last year, more than 650 Joe Fresh shop-in-shops opened over the weekend. The good news, from WWD: Shares of "J.C. Penney Co. Inc. jumped as much as 10.9 percent" on Monday and its "stock closed up 6.2 percent to $16.44." Analyst Brian Nagel of Oppenheimer described the mini-Freshes as "open and airy and brightly lit. Merchandise looks compelling and well priced. Traffic is difficult to measure, but customers do seem to be reacting positively."

And the ... other news, from the Wall Street Journal: The International Strategy & Investment Group (ISI) is already working on another strategy for Penneys — "spin off its 300 best-located stores into a new real estate company that rents them out to commercial tenants, and keep operating the remaining 800 stores as regular J.C. Penney stores." While JCP pays only $4 per square foot of space (thanks to its "huge real estate portfolio"), Tiffany pays $132, Apple pays $113, Nike pays $65, and Anthropologie pays $53. ISI calculates the move "could pull in $1.2 billion a year in rental income ... valuing it at a conservative $10.8 billion — more than three times what the market is currently valuing all of JCP at."

Dubbed "Plan B," they're really up to the letter M.