Is JC Penney a Force to be Reckoned With? The Rise, Fall and Rise of JC Penney
Some say JC Penney is bankrupt and will soon be non-existent. While the current CEO, Marvin R. Ellison, and others say the company is doing better than ever, so their competitors need to watch out.
JC Penney has been around since 1902, and although the face of the company has changed over the years to keep up with trends, and the addition of new products; it remains to be a strong presence as the go-to store for Middle America. However, it didn’t look like that a couple of years ago.
Before we will look at how JC Penney is doing today in their retail stores and online, we will take a quick look at:
- JC Penney – The Early Days
- What Happened to JC Penney in 2011?
- What can Consumers Expect from JC Penney Stores and Online Now?
JC Penney – The Early Days
When James Cash Penney (hence the name) founded the company he was only 26-years old. His first store was in Kemmerer, Wyoming and in the beginning he only sold dry-goods and named the company The Golden Rule.
Using the Golden Rule philosophy was his mission in both life and business; as well as how he directed the company and treated his employees.
In 1907 he expanded to the Rocky Mountains and allowed store managers to buy a one-third partnership, provided they trained someone to take their place as manager. It’s interesting to note that in 1940 Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, went to work for and joined the JC Penney training program after graduating from college.
JC Penney Subsidiaries
JC Penney Collections Stores; JC Penney Home Stores; JC Penney Life Insurance Co.; JC Penney National Bank; JC Penney Specialty Stores; Thrift Drug Inc.
Throughout its history a bad economy and recessions has slowed JC Penney down, but it has always managed to get back on track. But a few years ago, what almost did the company in had nothing to do with the economy, but with poor management.
What Happened to JC Penney in 2011?
At the end of 2011 when sales were slowing down for various reasons, the past and current CEO Marvin R. Ellison left JC Penney. Thus making room for Ron Johnson, a retail manager (who had great success as CEO of Apple’s retail stores) to make the JC Penney retail and online store, more contemporary.
“I don’t want to just run a business. I want to do what I did at Apple. I wanted to transform something. So I picked JC Penney.” Ron Johnson
But the plan backfired horribly and Ron Johnson almost ran the multi-national department store into bankruptcy. He took what customers were used to and tried to change everything too fast -without testing to see how customers would react.
Shoppers were accustomed to prices being marked up and then put on sale – JC Penney was famous as the place to go for bargains. Johnson changed it to a no sales, but affordable every day sales model.
What can Consumers Expect from JC Penney Stores and Online Now?
According to the JC Penney website, there are over 1,200 stores in all 50 states, as well as Chile, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. As well, JC Penney “Is the largest department-store retailer and catalog merchant in the United States with licensing agreements for products throughout the world.”
Almost 3 years exactly to when he left, Marvin Ellison returned as CEO of JC Penney. Upon his return he had this to say about his plans:
“Our goal is to earn a market position of loyalty beyond reason, to become the preferred shopping choice for Middle America. That’s where J. C. Penney should be, and we see a great deal of opportunity for growth under that strategy.”
JC Penney Back on Track
According to various financial sources, JC Penney stock is up and will more than likely continue to rise. Mainly because shoppers have returned since the major retail chain has gone back to their tried and true promotional selling business model.
Ellison intends to become a leader in Omni-channel for Middle America consumers. Meaning management will take a multi-channel approach to sales including online shopping and their brick and mortar stores.
JC Penney’s Online Presence
To stay contemporary and innovative in today’s shopping market, particularly with respect to consumers shopping more on the internet, Ellison had this to say:
“Omni-channel is critical to our growth. We’ll become a leader in omni-channel for the Middle America customer. We have the functionality our customer wants and needs and it’s only getting better. We’re committed to digital excellence to make sure our mobile shopping experience is quick, easy and fun and make the customers lives more convenient.”
JC Penney Online Holiday Shopping – Black Friday and Christmas
It appears that JC Penney has risen again to be even better than it was before, thanks to a website upgrade for a better online shopping experience and Ellison being back at the helm.
According to Consumer Affairs, JC Penney will have the highest average discounts this holiday season for their holiday sale at 60%.
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