J.C. Penney will attempt to break away from the sea of clothing racks that dominate most department stores and replace the layout with brand-focused groups. The move is a way to appeal to customers prone to shop at more specialized boutiques, according to an article in the Kansas City Star.

About 700 of the 1,100 Penney stores introduced new brand shops this month, including Liz Claiborne, Izod and Penney's brand, JCP. A Levi's brand shop opened in August, the article reported.

The in-store "shops" feature new lighting and updated fixtures to better showcase merchandise, like the new "jean bar" where customers can grab a stool and look over styles spread across the counter.

Read more about merchandising.

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