Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 26, 2012 02:04 PM
All J.C. Penney — sorry, JCPenney jcpenney jcp — wanted to do was shake up its image a little with a visual refresh in the first quarter, but one faction of the marketplace is now not looking too kindly on the retailer. Lighting design and branding firm Hudson + Broad is suing the U.S. retailer for $40 million over its new Fair and Square icon that was unveiled in January, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The New York-based store fixtures and lighting firm says in its suit that, as part of the store’s attempt to change its look, Penney had them create “large, square fixtures made with Plexiglas and LED lights that J.C. Penney is placing around its stores to mirror its new sharp-edged logo.” But then, the suit claims that the retailer is now “farming out production to other manufacturers.”
Hudson + Brand’s three light fixtures were place at J.C. Penney’s Manhattan Mall store in New York City and at the chain’s corporate headquarters in Texas. Then the chain ordered 1,800 of the customized light fixtures to put into 700 of its stores. However, as the firm notes in its suit, Penney apparently changed its mind, cancelled the order and decided to use other vendors to produce the lights from their specs.
The decision by JCP corporate came out of the blue, as H+B says they were “shocked beyond belief” and allege that Penney's actions have been anything but fair and square.
The upshot: Penney, which said it lost $87 million in its last quarterly statement, could be facing another stiff hit to the wallet.