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First Look: JC Penney At Manhattan Mall

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Attention bargain shoppers, lovers of high/low designer collaborations, and people who need new kitchen pans: The Manhattan Mall JC Penney soft-opens tomorrow morning at 9am. We've just emerged from a tour of the two-story department store and we can vouch for its sparkly newness and confirm that it does, in fact, contain a full-size Sephora.

Although there will be no doorbuster deals or special events until the Grand Opening on July 31, tomorrow's 9am-9:30pm first day will allow shoppers to stock up on designer collabs like I Heart Ronson by Charlotte Ronson, American Living by Ralph Lauren, JOE by Joseph Abboud, Fabulosity by Kimora Lee Simmons, Cindy Crawford Home, and nicole by Nicole Miller.

Now about those doorbusters...

When you descend via Manhattan Mall escalators to the first floor of the JC Penney, you will find the full-size Sephora (with Sephora associates who are not part of JCP) and all of women's and shoes. You might notice that most items are on sale for 20-60% off; this is not in celebration of the opening, but because all JC Penneys right now are going through sale time, and Manhattan's pricing and sales will remain consistent with other suburban JC Penneys.

Go another level down for men's, children's and home departments. Unlike other JCPs, this one obviously cannot host a furniture section, and so they've devised a way to order their furniture via a giant, touch-screen display. Choose what you'd like, and it will print out a barcode for you to take to the registers for payment and shipping arrangements.

If you're more keen on home goods than apparel, then you might want to wait for July 31 to come around, when doorbusters will include home items like towels and pillows (and of course, some others they can't yet reveal) for under $5. The grand opening will also bring JC Penney fashion shows, games, and stylist Jorge Ramón to Greeley Square, kicking off two months of further events including appearances by Charlotte Ronson, Nicole Miller and Wolfgang Puck. The full event calendar is here.

During our tour with Karolyn Wangstad, JC Penney's Vice President of Trend (hello, awesome job title), much much more was revealed about the store than we dare put into paragraph form. Here's everything else:
· The store is 109,000-square-feet is over-staffed with 500 employees to cut down on wait times since New Yorkers do not like to wait
· Stock will be replenished every night, so don't worry about rushing for the $44 Ronson boyfriend jeans or her "phenomenal motorcycle jacket coming soon."
· Cash wraps will have displays letting you know how long you'll be waiting in the queue to pay
· The shoe department boasts over 4,000 pairs of shoes, with brand like Sperry and Kimora Lee Simmons, and they will have riding and motorcycle boots for fall
· The jewelry department sells "Moissanite," which "tests as diamonds" but of course costs nowhere near as much.
· They sell a variety of skinny jeans in a rainbow of colors for $38 a pair. To outdo American Apparel?
· Home goods offers energy-efficient blinds and shades to cut down on heating and cooling costs
· Across the aisle from Cindy Crawford bedding, they've got your choice of bright orange Rachael Ray cookware, or deep red Paula Deen cookware.
· Delivery for items under 70lbs is $15 within Manhattan

Now that we've snuck a peek all around the store, there's just one mystery left: what designer is behind the very soft, very chic shirts under the brand "Twelfth by Eleven?" They're cuddled up next to the I Heart Ronson line, so we're thinking Cynthia Vincent...but only time will tell.
· After JC Penney, Herald Square Will Never Be The Same [Racked]
· Storecasting: T-minus 25 Days For JC Penney [Racked]
· Collabs: New I Heart Ronson Photos Emerge [Racked]
· Storecasting: One Year For JC Penney [Racked]

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