September 11, 2009 / 6:23 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-J.C. Penney unveils own line of women's clothes

* Bets on pent up demand

* Targets women with career sportwear

SEATTLE, Sept 11 (Reuters) - J.C. Penney Co Inc (JCP.N) said on Friday it had launched its own brand of clothes geared toward women, as the department store operator works to capture “pent up” demand before the holidays.

“She Said”, billed as a career sportswear line, is the latest addition to its private and exclusive lineup that includes Ambrielle, Allen B, Bisou Bisou and St. John’s Bay.

Private and exclusive brands make up 50 percent of Penney’s business, spokeswoman Jayme Cudworth said in an email. She declined to provide revenue or profit expectations for the new line.

Department stores like J.C. Penney, and Macy’s Inc (M.N) have focused on private and exclusive lines, that are typically priced lower than designer brands and help to drive sales.

“She Said” includes items in a higher price range such as tops for $44 and jackets for $85 as Penney bets that shoppers will spend for “something special.”

“In today’s retail environment, price alone cannot be the primary factor for buying,” Liz Sweney, executive vice president for Penney’s women’s unit, said in a statement.

“After months of pulling back on spending due to the recession, consumers have a pent up desire to spend, even if only a little.”

Penney recently launched the Cindy Crawford line of home goods, and Saks Inc SKS.N launched a new line of mens’ clothes in August.

Penney shares were up 7 cents at $31.52 on the New York Stock Exchange in afternoon trading. (Reporting by Aarthi Sivaraman)

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