JCPenney Took Some Giant Steps Back; Now Customers Are Confused

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shoppers confused by JCPenneyBy Ashley Lutz

When Ron Johnson took over as CEO of JCPenney (JCP) in January, his mantra was "no more coupons." Johnson said that the retailer was switching to a model of everyday low prices without constant promotions.

But since then, comparable-store sales have fallen 20 percent, and JCPenney has taken some giant steps back on this policy.

It started with free haircuts for kids in the weeks leading up to back-to-school. Then the store offered a $10 coupon. Now, the retailer is promoting free family photos, to begin later this week.

In perhaps the biggest backtrack, JCPenney offered an additional 30 percent off clearance items.

Now, customers are confused, hurting the chances they'll come shop at JCPenney, Charles Grum, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, said in a report.

"On the heels of a $10 in-store coupon provided earlier, free haircuts for kids and free family photos to begin later this week, we believe JCP is backtracking on its no-promotion strategy, confusing customers, and we, therefore, remain skeptical of near-term improvement in business trends," Grom said.

JCPenney told Women's Wear Daily that it wasn't reneging on the pricing strategy.

"We are not changing our pricing strategy. [JCPenney] still has two kinds of pricing: everyday low prices and clearance," a spokeswoman told WWD's Evan Clark. "We utilized a temporary percentage-off clearance, as is common in the industry, to help reduce inventory levels at the end of the season."


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109 Comments

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ashmorejoni

nothing is worst than the way they have the clothing set up for sale on racks labeled $2.00 and above, $15.00 and above, I have NEVER found the lowest price advertised on these racks. I feel that this top guy thinks we are all dummies. I shop for bargains, there are no more bargains there, only frustration. Also, like someone else mentioned, they don't have the great products as they once did. Before the change, I would always find something to buy and quickly, now its like finding a needle in a hay stack. I seldom shop there.

November 13 2012 at 12:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fed up

i am an employee of JCP. At first we were pumped up and excited with Ron Johnsons "vision".NOT ANYMORE! We have been restructured to death, lost countless of positions, lost sooooo many good employees due to their jobs being eliminated or they just got fed up with it all. We are slowly going back to the way it was although he will never admit it. Customers hate the new pricing.We have very limited colors/sizes on the floor. If we do not have someones size they are told we can get online for them.Who wants to do that?!?We don't even offer maternity anymore! Just because he came from Apple does NOT mean everyone is in the computer age!Women do not want to order clothes online! We like the shopping experience and must try things on. He might know computers but he sure doesn't know women! I feel that the stuff coming in off the truck is expensive. I have been a faithful shopper of JCP all of my 48 yrs. I would really be drawn in with coupons. No coupons-No shopping for me. Even the employee discount doesn't entice me unless its clearance! Ron Johnson has failed in my eyes and has flat out ruined JCPenney!

November 08 2012 at 5:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
smdean251

jcp what happaned no coupons no sales no catolog I now shop at kohls,bonton and bealls they have great sales and coupons and clothes that are in my bubget its to bad ive been a pennys coustomer for over 50 years and all my frends feel the same way you will go the same way as kalfmans grants and many other stores that let there coustomers down

November 02 2012 at 10:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vickiskinner69

What morons these "experts" are!! Americans WILL go ANYWHERE for a sale - PERIOD!! Heck - they'll even drive 50 miles to save 2¢ on a gallon of gas (whereby wasting LOTS more than they're saving!!)

I think offering FREE haircuts just before school starts is GENIUS as are FREE photos JUST before the holidays (of COURSE MANY will by the bigger package)!!!

I don't get some of these comments before as to ME, growing up, JCPennys quality on clothes was ALWAYS lower end (I wouldn't have purchased ANY clothes there) so why would someone kvetch about JCP & then say they're going to shop instead at Dillards & Macy's??

& people are kvetching about wanting things "made in America" - yet they're wanting cheap???? Peeps - those 2 don't go hand-in-hand what with all the taxes, insurances, etc. it costs to employee people in the U.S. You can NOT have it both ways!! You want Walmart prices? You're going to HAVE to have it made by slave labor in China - PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

November 02 2012 at 10:37 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to vickiskinner69's comment
Lily Strom

I disagree. I think the quality used to be miles above Walmart and Target. In fact, sometimes the quality was better than other mid-level dept. stores. I bought a leather jacket my senior year of high school at JCP for $65. I do own a heavy winter coat, but I wore it fewer than five times last year because it was too warm, and I own rainjacket that I take backpacking. Otherwise, I wore my beautiful, classically cut, waterproof, red leather east 5th street jacket from JCP almost every winter, spring, and autumn day for 10 years! Having put on a few extra pounds and realizing it was finally time to get a new leather jacket from JCP, I was disappointed to find that 1) the store no longer carries ANY medium weight jackets in petites sizes, 2) the store no longer carries ANY jackets that are real leather for ANY price!, and 3) what few pleather jackets they had were not nice enough that I could wear them to work. :(

November 05 2012 at 1:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
catwil1bia

No Catalogs, just a "magazine" with pictures now...seems like a big wast of money for them, but has sure has saved me a lot of money!

November 02 2012 at 9:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LAURA

Coupon or not. The quality of clothing has gone down and the selection of clothing has gone down.

November 02 2012 at 9:50 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
R

Stopped shopping in Penney when they changed their operations. It was the best store for the best sales - always. Not any more. Another ignoramous making another ignorant change.

November 02 2012 at 9:21 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
R

Stopped shopping in Penney when they changed their operations. It was the best store for the best sales - always. Not any more. Another ignoramous making another ignorant change.
As aside to gp341: Sounds very Obama'ish.

November 02 2012 at 9:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gp341

The CEO sounds like a republican. When you screw up never admit it.

November 02 2012 at 8:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vickiskinner69

What morons these "experts" are!! Americans WILL go ANYWHERE for a sale - PERIOD!! Heck - they'll even drive 50 miles to save 2¢ on a gallon of gas (whereby wasting LOTS more than they're saving!!)

I think offering FREE haircuts just before school starts is GENIUS as are FREE photos JUST before the holidays (of COURSE MANY will by the bigger package)!!!

November 02 2012 at 6:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply