I have been reading stories about J.C. Penney’s CEO Ron Johnson’s strategy for the company and why he was fired this week. The article said he cut coupons and deals and instead offered everyday low prices. It said he introduced little “boutique” areas into the big store and developed relationships with new brands, such as Sephora.
“(Ron) Johnson turned off long-time customers who were used to seeing markdowns to know they were getting a good deal. Now, interim CEO Mike Ullman — who headed Penney from 2004 to 2011 — is faced with the task of getting them back. “
“Driving traffic should be the company’s No. 1 goal, says Barbara Kahn, director of the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton business school. Yes, Johnson dropped sales, but getting rid of coupons also turned customers off, she says….”
“Penney has already started bringing back discounts after an abysmal year that ended with a 32% decrease in sales during the holiday season, compared with the year before. But the retailer won’t likely entirely scrap all of Johnson’s plans, Nisch says. Partnering with new brands such as Levi’s and Joe Fresh to create specialty boutique shops within Penney stores is something Ullman should go forward with, Nisch says.”
About two months ago I went into J.C. Penney for the first time in a long time. I can’t even remember the last time I was in one. I was looking for a white blouse, and I didn’t want to drive all the way to our local mall so I thought I would just stop in and see what they had.
I had noticed their new logo and ad campaigns on TV. I liked the bright colors they were showing during the winter months. I was so surprised when I went in. I did notice the little “boutique” areas with different brands. I was very surprised by the Sephora in the store.
In the women’s section I found several nice blouses for work, but I really liked a section that I guess would have been considered juniors. It had really bright sweaters and long-sleeve shirts. I bought myself and Rose several sweaters, shirts and scarves. Everything was reasonably priced. I felt like I got some cute pieces at good prices, and I would definitely go back. (I also felt like that had some appropriate clothes for preteens and teens. Many of the items weren’t too revealing.)
One of the articles I read said the store didn’t replace enough of their old shoppers with people like me. (This is the ad campaign they are missing: Give us a try and you’ll be surprised. We have lots of cute stuff at good prices. Just come in once and see.)
So I am wondering have you been to J.C. Penney in the last year? What did you think? Did you get the little stores within a store? Had you noticed the changes? Do you ever shop there? Did they lose you as a customer with the changes?