J.C. Penney last week launched Artesia, a new private label boho apparel line for women, in time for fall.
The collection includes crochet cardigans and dusters, peasant blouses and tops with tiered flounces that have bohemian details like flutter sleeves, lace, tassels and fringe, according to a company press release. Items are priced below $30 each.
The retailer is promoting the new label in its women’s fall fashion mailer this month and through its email, social and digital marketing channels, according to the release.
Perfected by Free People and abetted by the ongoing appeal of styles seen each summer at the massive Coachella music festival, boho chic continues to factor in many designers' styles from home decor to baby items.
But boho is found most of all in women's apparel, and few retailers have neglected to offer the flowing, embellished elements of the hippie style. Penney is only the latest, part of its effort to recover from the disastrous women's apparel sales of last year. The company attempted a drastic reset and swept away much of its women's inventory as it warned of a critical sales slump in the third quarter. The company closed out the year with a shakeup in its executive offices, letting go of longtime chief merchant John Tighe and axing his position.
The ubiquity of boho fashion may make the new Artesia line a safe bet, but with so many other retailers offering similar styles, there's no guarantee that Penney will be able to coax shoppers into its stores. The move follows the trend this year of retailers expanding their private label portfolios in order to differentiate themselves from rivals, "fill merchandise voids and attain larger margins," Jane Hali, CEO of investment research firm Jane Hali & Associates, told Retail Dive in an email, noting that off-price retailer Saks Off 5th recently introduced a stable of men’s and women’s private brands and that Target has introduced more than a dozen new owned brands in the past year.
"Boho is still part of the fashion landscape, with wide leg trousers, floating skirts and dresses, flared sleeves and blanket wraps," she said, but noted that JHA analysts don't see "this line truly affecting the top line."