JC Penney and the Word

Sale. The word is sale.

JC Penney decided a number of months ago that they will no longer involve themselves in the negative downward spiral of supporting promotions and will replace the promotional language with the new phrase “month-long value.”

On paper this looked really smart. Aggressive – and a compliment to the new store interiors and the new flag-like logo.  After all, according to Advertising Age, the store was hosting over 590 advertising events a year with hundreds of clearances that resulted in declining revenue even though average retail prices rose.  

So the plan to offer lower prices is still on the rack (so to speak) --only it will called “best prices” and continue to be offered twelve times a year – “every first and third Friday, every month”.

Get it? Me neither.

I guess that’s why there is a four-letter word back in JC Penney vocabulary.


JC Penney has to break out from being the middle of the road retailer and a middle of the road advertiser. That’s why they went to advertising that made fun of catalogs, direct mail, coupons and deals to make consumers buy. They hired Ron Johnson as their CEO, formerly of Apple Inc. They strengthen up the fight and wrapped themselves as the American Company that wants to be your Company with a capital “C”.   Yet there is also indications that ad budgets will decrease in 2013. Just when they are trying to ensure that you and I -- current and potential customers -- understand the price mentality too.

Let's face it, shoppers are all about the deal. But in retail, (possibly without doing their research) JCP has proved if you call it something other than “sale” we shoppers might just be too distracted in our busy lives to care.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lorraine DeVita June 26, 2012 at 01:35 AM
As anyone who knows me will tell you I never EVER pay retail! I had been a rabid jcp shopper for years. JCP had been my go to store on line for furniture and household goods. During this phase of finding themselves or their niche I have noticed a dramatic drop in selection and quality. Where i would pounce once a month to look for a fantastic Bargain(last yr I SCORED three stunning outdoor chandeliers for $75.00 a piece the same ones in Frontgate were $400.00 ! , I have scored some major finds over the years.@ JCP but they took the FUN out of my online guilty pleasure of bargain hunting.. The other problem i had and STILL have with JCP is the disparity in pricing between their online products and their in store products, the difference could at times be almost double the price in store even with the shipping. Other retailers dont do that and while i appreciate the brick and mortar overhead vs online retail the cost difference was too extreme driving more people away.. I want my OLD jcpenney back! The thrill of the hunt is GONE...
Patrick June 26, 2012 at 02:30 AM
@Lorraine, can you please elaborate on how you never, ever pay retail? Can you let everyone where you buy your milk, and your eggs, etc. at a discounted price, we would all like to know, everyone needs a bargain. You purchased 3 outdoor chandeliers @$75 a piece, advertised at $400 each elsewhere, that is a great deal,please tell everyone how you came about such a stellar savings. I was not aware that JCP almost doubles the price of some of thier product instore as opposed to their online store, can you please give some of the most recent examples of this pricing disparity, as I am sure that the readers of the Patch would almost certainly be most appreciative of the knowledge you have of the products that are potentially marked up 100% in store as opposed to the online store. You say other retailers don't do that, which other retailers do you speak of. and please detail the mark up disparities for in store merch. as opposed to online merch for the other retailers of which you speak. Every reader of this blog would certainly love to know which retailers keep their in store pricing in line with their online pricing. Can you please provide the research data used to formulate the intuitive information that you have posted here so that we all can find the best deals on product available in the furniture and household goods arena. Thank you
Lauren B. Lev June 26, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Not only have they lost consumer confidence but I've read some marketing commentary with experts who wonder why they didn't use some of their ad dollars to simply explain the pricing rather than only relying on full-fledged image campaign.
Helen June 27, 2012 at 12:06 AM
@Lauren beneath this reply - guess they didn't hire the right marketing team - problem is with the corps and big wig marketing/ad agencies, they have lost touch with real people- what the people want and how/what they understand. Great, so I got that JCP is all about 'fair and square' with the 'square' visual - but beyond that - I just don't get it and I just don't care - too many other places to shop.
paul June 27, 2012 at 11:46 PM


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