J.C. Penney. It is a store I grew up with. I was there on countless back-to-school shopping trips. I was there spending my Christmas money almost every year. And who can forget the annual 10 pound J.C. Penney catalog? But, like most things, it eventually fell out of fashion for me. There were small rumblings here and there that somewhat enticed me–the MNG by Mango line, Sephora stores within a J.C. Penney–but nothing to make me return as the loyal shopper I once was. Not until the serious new announcements were made this past January from the new JCP.
With new CEO, Ron Johnson, former Senior VP of Retail Operations for Apple, Inc., JCP has seen more changes in 10 months than I can remember in the last 10 years. First, the new pricing. No more commercials advertising a J.C. Penney sale from Friday to Sunday, with the best deals on Saturday. The new pricing scheme dramatically simplifies things. “Every day” prices now take the place of the former sale prices guaranteeing great values. Of course, to keep things interesting there are also “Monthly Values”, monthly sales featuring products at reduced prices. JCP also implemented “Best Values” for best prices on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of a month (pay-days). Okay, that’s easier. Now for the changes we’re really interested in.
JCP announced a dramatic reorganization of the stores themselves. The better, faster, stronger JCP store will feature a layout to focus on mini-stores within the store. Based on previous acquisitions by JCP, the most likely mini-stores are:
Liz Claiborne – now exclusively distributed by JCP
MNG by Mango
American Living (a Ralph Lauren brand)
Seattle’s Best Coffee
Of course, it is also possible that we will see mini-stores for other collections like Nicole by Nicole Miller and Bisou Bisou. I was so excited by the mini-store concept, I stepped into my local JCP this weekend ready to see a difference. Unfortunately, it all looked very much the same. And it will for some time. JCP execs announced that the new mini-stores layout may not be implemented until 2013. But don’t let that get you down. You can enjoy amazing prices right now on jcpenney.com. Like $10.00 for a Bisou Bisou pleated midi skirt. Or $35.00 for an MNG by Mango geometric sleeveless blouse.
The changes are there, I assure you. They just haven’t trickled down to your local store quite yet. But keep your eyes open and your ears tuned in for more to come. I know I will. I’m hoping by the time J.C. Penney has fully taken on this new JCP persona, we’ll be shoving and elbowing to get to the store. At least, that’s what I hope.