JCPenney Backs Off 'No Sale' Promise

By Kim Bhasin

Months ago, JCPenney (JCP) CEO Ron Johnson and his team decided to take the word "sale" out of the company's lexicon and replace it with "month-long value."
It didn't work at all, and now Johnson and his team are backtracking.
"It's just been kind of confusing," Johnson said at a Piper Jaffray investor conference, according to Reuters.
"We're moving away from the word 'month-long value' because no one really understood that, to calling it what we intended to do, a sale." JCPenney's "month-long value" pricing strategy docked prices on select products for an entire month, which is essentially a long-term sale. Traffic at JCPenney took a big hit in the first quarter as bargain-loving consumers ran for the hills.
It's something JCPenney execs mentioned in their presentation to shareholders last month.

"Our marketing isn't doing the work. It needs to communicate pricing strategy" and bring in more traffic, said Johnson. "We've got to get our pricing across."
This doesn't mean JCPenney is giving up on its quest to wean consumers off of big sales events and coupons - far from it. Pricing will remain the same, and the extreme bargain hunting consumers out there won't be getting their beloved coupons back.
Will the simple addition of the word "sale" to JCPenney's marketing make all the difference?

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I want JCP to do well; not out of a sense of loyalty to American companies but out of loyalty to other Americans. I do have doubts about their long term strategy. Changing the business model and store layout so dramatically and before Christmas is.. not a good idea. Their plans should have been kept under wraps and it should have been given a few dry runs before implementation. This doesn't appear well-coordinated.

I recently went in for a job interview at JCP for a technical position. It was haphazard and unstructured. They spent most of the time talking about their business strategy, instead of focusing on the job role.

Apparently, JCP wants to move their cash register system over to iPads. I can just picture all of the employees wearing coin belts. The people they put in charge of development were mostly former Blockbuster employees. That's right, the same company that tanked when faced with online opposition from Netflix.

Like I said, this really should have been thought out.

December 14 2012 at 9:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like the new pricing. I was buying a watch for my fiance, after doing research I found JCP had it for $500, Kohls, was marked $1350 and had a "sale" of half off. What JCP is doing is removing the need to wait and wait and wait for a coupon that happens to come up during a sale. I have worked in retail for years, and for everyone who does not know when coupons come out "sale" prices go up! Way to go JCP!

August 24 2012 at 3:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When you price up your items and then say you are giving people "a fair and square price"
the educated consumer will go shopping somewhere else. That is exactly what you did
with the bracelet I wanted, you priced it up to $35 when it was $19. I didn't buy it and don't
like your new "fair and square" pricing!

July 30 2012 at 11:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did you know? If the average consumer paid the lowest non-sale MSRP for every product they purchased, and sales were eliminated, most people would pay less overall than they do currently. Furthermore, applying the time spent looking for these 'sales' to a career, charity, or some other cause would improve the world tremendously.

These 'marketing' gimmicks are wasting the time and money of consumers, get rid of them, charge a fair price, and lets move on with life.

It reminds me of gambling, sure you post about how you saved $20 on a shirt, but did you need the shirt? is the sale price really a sale or was it overpriced to begin with? In the time it takes to figure out all the tricks, you could have made $20 more.

July 26 2012 at 6:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What were they thinking...I went to JC Penney's, the first day of the change; besides myself, I believe there may have been four other customers in the store. We walked around looking for the for the "bargins", because there wasn't even the usual price signs at the displays. Finally saw a person who worked there, who told us to look for the little price stickers on the item. NOT everything was "value priced"; some prices are ridiculous! I've been back a few times since...again, what they do is mark down only certain items. I also noticed, they have done away with some of the check-out areas. Another big disappointment, is the merchandise available...they need some new buyers, along with a new CEO! I miss JC Penney's "good old days", when the store use to be fun place to shop. Some items they no longer carry. Staff has been cut. The atmosphere is solemn. Well, just another example of the TOP MAN, bringing things DOWN!!!!

July 24 2012 at 3:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

JCP- CEO Ron Johnson does not know a thing about how woman likes to shop. The majority of woman shop for the whole family including their boyfriends, husbands and their home.
This is one area where Mr. RJ Is clueless. He may have done well at Apple, but he will continue to fail
at JCP, personally they need to find a new CEO before JCP goes under…

I like sales people, and good sales people can help you make better decisions they know their merchandise, besides it’s a shopping experience. Who wants to bag their purchases, not me, especially when I am paying for the merchandise?
This move is pure greed. Hearing this news is enough for me not to shop at JCP until they get a new CEO. What a turn-off!

I liked JCP but when they switched to no sales we were not getting the best deals, they lied. I bought three rugs on sale before they did away with the sales, when I went back to the store and checked the new policy I compared it to what I paid before, if I purchased the same rugs again I would paid an extra $20.00 for the same purchase, then I compared other things the same things were going on with other items. They were not giving us good prices, no wonder it failed, woman shoppers are smarter then Mr. RJ.

In addition another topic, there are many problems with shopping on line, and usually you end up taking the products into the store for an exchange. Some company’s make you pay a shipping policy to return them, no sale there. You cannot see the colors or feel the fabrics. I prefer to shop in person, but like to compare on-line for sales and quality. I always buy in person.

July 24 2012 at 2:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael Levine

30 years ago I bought everything from JCP catalogs. My UPS driver knew me better than his son. (Joking). People may not remember, but JCP sale catalogs' prices were usually 3 months, but not less than 1 month. The advantage was you can plan to buy something you want and need without the rush of having to buy it during the 2 or 3 days that most stores then and now ran their sales for. And because most items than were open stock, if they were out at there closest warehouse, it would ship from one that had it or was back ordered.

Maybe its time to get back to what made JCP once successful. If you order on line, are you not using cash registers and how much faster will it be to not stand at a cashier center. What about people using cash. Well they can use store cards which can be purchased at kiosks or, like gift cards, at various locations but without the service charge. Also how much safer will it be?

July 23 2012 at 11:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This guy obviously has not done his homework and does not understand what shopping means. Do you have any women on ur team? Used to be so great to use my coupons on a sale item and look at my receipt to see how much I saved! What an idiot. Nobody wanst to go in your jacked up store anymore because u have ruined it. Get rid of him before this store goes under. I'm already done.

July 23 2012 at 9:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Look for a sale on JCP stock - going out of business sale

July 23 2012 at 8:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

J. C. Penney has lost my business if they use Iphones to manage sales transactions. I do not own an Iphone and do not plan on getting one. Goodby J.C. Penney

July 23 2012 at 8:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply