J.C. Penney is the latest retailer to jump on the subscription box bandwagon.
The Texas-based department store chain has partnered with Bombfell, a service similar to that of Stitch Fix and Trunk Club. And the first run of boxes will cater to Penney’s big and tall male customers, a demographic the company said is growing quickly across the U.S.
The Dallas News first reported on the launch Friday afternoon.
“We thought this was a good first start … for the next few months we are going to learn as well,” a spokeswoman from Penney told CNBC. “The benefit of learning with Bombfell is they are the ones who have the platform and the means of doing this, and we also have a large big and tall customer base.”
Through Bombfell’s platform, a Penney customer will take a style “quiz” that then selects five of the department store chain’s items to be shipped. Once that package arrives, a customer has seven days to try on items. Clothes or accessories that are kept are paid for, and everything else can be shipped back at no cost.
“We think this demonstrates we are meeting the evolution of the next phase of retail,” the Penney spokeswoman said. “We’re definitely becoming more digital … [and] we are leveraging the strength of our stores” (where the inventory is kept).
Penney’s average big and tall items retail for $39, and most items sold through Bombfell will retail between $15 and $120, the company said.
Penney’s move into subscription boxes falls on the heels of Stitch Fix’s IPO, where the online service raised $120 million in a downsized offering.
Meantime, NPD Group has estimated that 35 percent of consumers “don’t even know” what subscription services are. Only 15 percent of consumers have ordered subscription boxes, while another 14 percent haven’t yet ordered them but plan to, the firm found in an industry report earlier this year.