The clock is ticking for J.C. Penney
J.C. Penney, by CEO Jill Soltau’s own admission, has to move faster if the department store chain is going to get ahead of its competitors and turn its ailing business around. The question, assuming that Penney’s team has the answers for putting the business back on the right track, is whether it has the time and resources necessary to accomplish the task.
Penney, which continues to operate its business under billions of dollars in debt, has recently seen its share price fall to under $1 on the New York Stock Exchange, risking a delisting if it is not able to move that figure higher.
The chain, in the first nine months under Ms. Soltau’s leadership, has taken steps to reposition its brand with a fashion and home goods focus. Among the earliest significant moves made by Ms. Soltau was to get Penney out of appliance sales in February.
Former Penney CEO Marvin Ellison, who left the department store last year to lead Lowe’s, added appliances to the chain’s merchandise mix in 2016. At the time, Mr. Ellison pointed to a market opportunity created by a weakened Sears. Penney went from a 22-store pilot of appliances to a nationwide rollout in short order.
The Dallas Morning News reports that Penney has begun testing two new fashion and home concepts to see if they resonate with consumers.
In the first, Penney has redecorated its women’s dressing rooms, added stylists and installed more seating to meet the needs of customers and those shopping with them. The pilot, which is taking place at a store in Penney’s home market in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, will need to show positive sales results if the concept is to be rolled out on a wider basis.
Penney is also testing educational classes in the home department at a store in Tyler, TX. The classes, some that have attracted customers and others that have failed to drum up interest, have covered a wide range of topics, from how to properly blow out hair to choosing the best window coverings.
- Where does J.C. Penney’s turnaround stand? It’s testing new ideas in Texas – The Dallas Morning News
- JC Penney is trying new things to stay afloat. But its stock is below $1 again and at risk of being delisted. – CNBC
- J.C. Penney dumps appliances – RetailWire
- Can a new CEO revitalize J.C. Penney’s business? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will it take major new initiatives (e.g., increased focus on fashion and home) to bring customers back to J.C. Penney or improving the fundamentals of its operation? Do you think that Penney still has the time and resources to turn its business around?