Penney making changes

A major face-lift at the JCPenney store in Albany Mall is under way, one that will significantly change the look of the major mall tenant and add a few new jobs to the economy.

Joseph Iles, manager of the local JCPenney store, said a little more than $2 million has been allocated for the renovation, which should be completed by the end of July.

The work began in early February, Iles said, and is scheduled to be completed by July 22 before the annual Back to School sales, typically one of the busiest times for mall retailers.

About 90 to 95 percent of the work should be completed by the first of July, he said.

Iles said the JCPenney store renovation will include the addition of a Sephora cosmetics department. The Sephora unit alone will add a manager and six beauty consultants.

Also to be added is MNG by Mango, a European fashion collection of women's apparel, handbags, accessories and footwear. Also added will be Call it Spring, a brand created by the Aldo Group for footwear and handbags.

JCPenney, which has operated a store in Albany since 1926, opened its Albany Mall store in 1988.

At that time, Iles said, the company believed in building its interiors to accommodate a "store within the store" philosophy with numerous walls to compartmentalize the various departments.

Now, the philosophy has changed. Iles said the renovation will result in a more open feeling for shoppers as they enter the store.

The remodeling of the 75,000-square-foot store will include new fixtures, improved lighting and new signage and graphics.

Iles said the JCPenney store here now has about 120 associates. That number is expected to increase by at least 10 workers and could go as high as 20, he said.

Iles said the renovation under way will be first class. When finished, Iles said the interior of the Albany store will be as good as JCPenney stores in major markets such as Atlanta or Dallas.

Danny Carter can be contacted at (229) 888-9346 or emailed at danny.carter@albanyherald.com.