JCPenney is relying on performance clothing to differentiate itself from competitors. The Plano, Texas-based retailer has introduced a washable suit and a wrinkle-free cotton dress shirt at its stores in recent years. Both products were developed at Penney's laboratories in Texas, Hong Kong and Singapore, where 45 engineers are continuously exploring new uses for "performance fabrics."

Penney's is currently putting the finishing touches on anti-microbe underwear that eliminates odors and a collagen-injected socks to ease achy feet, according to a report in the New York Post.