St. John’s Bay

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St. John's Bay is the leading private brand manufactured for sale at JCPenney stores. The young James Cash Penney opened several stores within the Golden Rule franchise in the early 1900s and found that his retail acumen made them all very successful. In 1913, he bought out his partners in the venture and began re-branding his stores under the new moniker JCPenney. By the late 1920s, Penney had more than 1,000 stores in operation across the country. Expansion of the company continued into the middle of the 20th century and peaked in 1973, when there were 2,053 locations and the brand had a presence in all 50 states.

JCPenney was hit hard by a series of economic downturns, beginning in the late 1970s. The company struggled to stay afloat as ecommerce started to have a major impact on the market, and it began to focus primarily on many of its house brands. St. John's Bay was JCPenney's first billion-dollar private brand, but it was eliminated in 2011, when Ron Johnson became the company's new CEO. Getting rid of the popular label was one of many missteps taken during Johnson's brief tenure, and JCPenney re-introduced St. John's Bay in 2013 after ousting the exec. Today, St. John's Bay is once again a top seller.

Women's Merchandise


Both before it was discontinued and since it came back, St. John's Bay has always focused on traditional basics for women. Tops include tees, tanks, polos, and camis, as well as button-downs, blouses, tunics, peasant tops, yoke tops, and more. Many of the brand's shirts include embellishments like lace and/or colorful patterns and prints. Sleeveless, short-sleeved, and long-sleeved tops are divided almost equally so that you can turn to the brand during all types of weather. St. John's Bay also features sweaters and cardigans, in addition to jackets that provide plenty of warmth.

In bottoms, you'll find a wide array of St. John's Bay jeans in all the most popular cuts and washes--including bootcut, straight, skinny, and more. Twill pants, khakis, cargo pants, leggings, and jeggings are also available. Capris, crops, and shorts will keep you cool in the summer, and skirts come in maxi and midi lengths. When it comes to dresses, the brand offers styles like fit-and-flare, sundresses, maxi dresses, and more. Swimwear is also a popular category, and you can choose among one-piece and two-piece options. Beyond apparel, St. John's Bay offers lots of footwear, and shoe styles include sandals, wedges, ballet flats, Mary Janes, boots, and booties.'s Rating of St. John’s Bay

Major corporate entities rarely apologize for their blunders, but JCPenney pulled no punches when it came to admitting that it was a mistake to get rid of St. John's Bay. Though its goal had been to attract a younger demographic under Ron Johnson's leadership, it alienated many of its most loyal customers in the process. Luckily, the clothing conglomerate listened carefully to the responses it received on social media and realized that the demand was there to get St. John's Bay back. Today, the brand has returned to its former glory and remains one of JCPenney's most diverse and appealing exclusive labels. We give St. John's Bay 4.5 stars out of 5.

St. John’s Bay

  • Established 1902 (JCPenney)
  • Traditional women's basics
Sold at:
JCPenney stores and online
Types of items:
Tees, tanks, camis, polos, peasant tops, button-downs, cardigans, sweaters, jeans, twill pants, trousers, khakis, cargo pants, capris, crops, shorts, skirts, dresses, jackets, coats, swimwear, shoes, boots
Related brands:
JCP, Liz Claiborne, Arizona, Stafford, Worthington, Belle + Sky, Boutique
Our rating:
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