J C Penney (NYSE:JCP) Pulls Down Racist Display After Outcry

J C Penney (NYSE:JCP) has removed a racist display from one of its malls in Sioux City, Iowa, following a social media outcry. The firm came under fire after an Iowa resident Michelle Free-LaMere posted a video and photo of several mannequins in the Iowa store wearing ‘Tribe-themed t-shirts’ with different racist inscriptions. According to the viral posts, some t-shirts had messages like ‘Tribe Leader, ‘New to the Tribe,’ and ‘Love my Tribe,’. The t-shirts were displayed alongside mannequins with phrases like ‘Beer Beer Beer’ and ‘Wine Wine Wine’.

Free-LaMere’s Facebook video post, which attracted 51K views within two days, has since gone viral, garnering over 101K views. Most of the Facebook users criticized J C Penny for its racist stock. Katrina RedOwl, a user from Pasadena, California termed the displays as disrespectful while a Colorado-based user, Mikki Naranjo said she felt disgusted with the messages on the t-shirts. “I won’t shop there any longer,” she said.

The outcry comes at a time when the store chain is launching a subscription box service targeting big and tall men.

In December, J C Penney partnered with Bombfell to launch the subscription service. The first batch of boxes will target the big and tall men demographic which is growing rapidly across the US market. The service mirrors that of Stitch Fix and Trunk Club.

J C Penney said in a statement that it expects the partnership to thrive because Bombfell has a dedicated platform while the store chain has a huge customer base of big and tall men.

Once on the platform, customers will take a quiz before selecting five items that the store should ship to their address. After a package is delivered, a customer tries the shipped items, retaining the ones that are a good fit. The rest of the items are shipped back to the store at no extra cost.

After the launch, the company said that most of the big and tall items sold on the platform will go for between $15 and $120. On average, a big and tall item costs $39 at any J C Penney store. After the launch, the store announced it was going digital as it evolves into the next phase of retail.

Online fashion platforms are gaining popularity with several apparel retailers, including Gap already testing such platforms. JCPenney, however, is the first departmental store to launch the platform.

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