I Bought Something At JC Penney

Less cluttered aisles. “I’m getting the best price,” feeling. Seemed to be a change in mix, but I really wouldn’t know.

‘Cause it was the first time I had bought something at JC Penney in several years, best as I can recall.

I like not having to deal with feeling I’m getting gypped just because I don’t have a coupon. Lord knows I won’t go into Bed Bath & Beyond without my mailer for $5 off. They give me the feeling that if I don’t have a coupon I’m paying too much.

The way things were priced at JC Penney made me feel warm and fuzzy.

The categories – everyday, monthlong values & best prices – felt like a promise that tomorrow I wouldn’t regret the deal I got.

The store I was at felt perkier. Livelier. It made the product seem better.

The shoe sales folk were available and nice in both the women’s and men’s department. Miracle.

I found something I really wanted to buy. So did my wife. She hadn’t bought anything at JC Penney for much longer than me. Maybe a decade.

I was reading in Ad Age today about how JC Penny sales are not reacting positively to the change in tactics brought by new CEO Ron Johnson. Comparable store sales down by 18% this last quarter. Feels a bit disastrous, although, I’m not sure that should be a surprise. JC Penny is in the beginning of a major shift in retailing strategy.  They are moving away from tactics that their customers have been trained to antiticipate and react to — coupons and sales and $.99 pricing. All things I tend to hate.

I’m glad to see the retailer taking steps to move into the next generation of retail.  Their current positioning seemed untenable. Stuck between Target and Macy’s, my guess is the path ahead looked rocky at best.

So they’ve taken an interesting gamble on a strategic shift that will be difficult for others to replicate if they are successful.

The question is, can they teach customers to be delighted by the simpler shopping experience?  Or are there enough people like my lovely wife and I to make up for the customers who disappear?

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One Response to I Bought Something At JC Penney

  1. Kay Plante says:

    Great blog. Fewer customers at higher prices spells more profits. Penny’s is in the middle of a business model transformation. Will it work? Macy’s went back to coupons just as car companies went back to incentives. I share your view – I hate buying at Macy’s because of their coupons that clutter the purse. (is this why men shop less for clothes – no place to store all the coupons?) I prefer Nordstrom’s seasonal store-wide sales. The question is: “What is the intersection between Penny’s merchandising choices and people who are less inclined to need coupons to shop?”

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