Proving that even the most fashion forward city in America can fall prey to penny pinching recession shopping trends, today Manhattan opens its swanky sidewalks to welcome the chain store, J.C. Penney. Not too long ago, Big Apple fashionistas would have barely swiveled their heads in the direction of the mid-priced retailer but according to financial analysts, today’s shoppers are trading down and hunting for deeper bargains. J.C. Penney’s move into a bigger, sleeker marketplace illustrates a new trend of sizing up with lower cost as the retailer broadens its brand image with a sleek new store design – swank dressing rooms with wood mirrors and velvety draping, a 2,000 square foot in-store Sephora, and new designs by up-and-comers like Charlotte Ronson and Allen Schwartz – give the retailer a competitive edge and a fashion-forward image. Penney’s new duds might not be incentive enough for high-brow shoppers to leave a major player like Saks Fifth Avenue, but certainly Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s should feel the pinch in their over-priced boots as J.C. Penney’s new mix of stylish quality and low prices ups the ante in the Manhattan marketplace.