J.C. Penney's New Logo: Will Its Fourth in Four Years Be the Charm?

JCPenney Logo
Lately, it seems the only constant at J.C. Penney (JCP) is change, so it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that the retailer is once again switching up its logo.

Business Insider noticed that J.C. Penney's apology ad from earlier this month -- which has since been pulled from circulation -- featured a different logo than we'd seen before.

The article also notes that this all-lowercase "jcpenney" logo likewise appears on the company's latest print material.

If this is indeed the new logo (there's been no official announcement from the company, and the logo hasn't been changed on the website), then it will be replacing the "jcp" logo that kicked off Ron Johnson's ill-fated tenure as CEO. That logo, in turn, replaced the "JCPenney" logo that put the first three letters in a box, which in turn replaced the box-less "JCPenney" logo.

There's a clear progression in those first three logos, with each successive logo placing more and more emphasis on "JCP" until the company name was finally boiled down to those three letters. Now that Johnson's gone, the company seems to be backtracking and making a return to the full name.

Whatever the reason for the shift, erratic branding certainly isn't helping the retailer. By our count, the company has now had four logos in as many years, which means that as soon as one logo starts to stick in your head, it suddenly gets thrown in the dumpster and replaced. And Business Insider cites E-Poll Market Research, which found that recognition of the brand dropped every time J.C. Penney switched to a new logo.

The "new" logo is a lot closer to the old, pre-Johnson one, so maybe this is just the latest attempt to roll back recent innovations and make the retailer more recognizable to its core customers.

But if management wants a logo to stick in the heads of those customers, maybe they should stay with it for more than a year.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.

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The logo is the least of their worries at this point.

May 17 2013 at 1:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I still shop at Penny's. I didn't went they went "youth" oriented. But I knew I could find a dressy dress and clothes that fit. I loved their leasure wear department and now that I'm older I do appreciate stores that have a good selection of Women's sizes. My problem with Penny's has always been one of the inconsistancies from store to store. It's was like nobody was on teh same page. Best Penny' in teh St. Louis Metro area is at South County Mall. Hands down the best customer service and friendliest staff.

May 17 2013 at 12:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If they spent the same amount of energy on ways to bring us back as customers as they did on the irrelevant logo, business might improve.

May 17 2013 at 8:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was completely turned off by their new ads included in the Sunday newspaper - the primary colors, teen clothes, and models all under the age of 21. I concluded they wanted only the 'young' business'. I miss their sales and coupons. I miss St. John's Bay and Cabin Creek shoes. The store I (used to) go to is brighter, but maybe that's because there's nobody there.

May 17 2013 at 6:12 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

JC Penny is a great store or at least it could be. They need to stop catering to the saggy pants sideways cap rap crap hip hopping skinny jeans crowd and know that there are adults who need to buy cloths too.

May 17 2013 at 5:31 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

It actually is very important that they changed their logo immediately. Sad to say, idiots who can't figure simple math only want higher prices and coupon "discounts." Ain't that America?

May 17 2013 at 2:49 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

There is a lot more to change to make the core customers come back to your store. Bring back the brands like Cabin Creek, St. Johns Bay and others and maybe, just maybe we might start to get interested -- but don't hold your breath. Bring back sales representatives, customer service centers, departments that disappeared like the Women's Department, coupons, sales and the general atmosphere of the store that may make you want to return. Bring back JCPenney the way it was. If it ain't broke, don't fix it! Everyone is not 21 years old! What you did to loyal customers has been so unthinkable that we all have moved on to better consumer friendly establishments. Your loss, their gain. You have so much to prove, and it may or may not be possible to return to a store we all loved in the past. Only time will tell -- it is up to you!

May 17 2013 at 1:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Rule number one when becoming new CEO, CHANGE SOMETHING. Presenting a new logo only means one thing, hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent on something that DIDN"T need a change. Change the logo permanently to "Penny's" as "I;m going to Penny's to get a new shirt. "Everybody already refers to the store as that name and it could also be a reminder that they sell their merchandise at pennies compared of what other stores cost. Be a store for middle age fogies or middle economic class people. Keep the products that have been selling for you in the past but at the same time can put in newer brands a little at a time instead of an overall change a la Ron Johnson. Leave the neon colored clothes to the Old Navy outlets and their clientele.

May 16 2013 at 4:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Provide a varied selection of quality goods at a fair price, add a clean store and knowledgeable help and customers will visit and spend.

May 16 2013 at 4:16 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

This is just so lame. Talk about minimizing yourself. Good grief, JCP. Your downfall began with that completely hideous commercial with the screaming women at their mailboxes....and went downhill from there. Your LOGO design is hardly the most important thing you have to think about at this point.

May 16 2013 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply