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Yesterday afternoon, we stopped by a pretty serious JCPenney mega-conference, otherwise called the Fresh Air Event. This, we found out, is Penney's way of saying that it's about to go under a major revamp by February 1st. Chief Executive Ron Johnson acknowledge that the store has "picked up some bad habits" along the way, and it's aiming to rid itself of that stale connotation that comes with shopping at JCPenney. The gist of the strategy is this: They're lowering prices to be what they should be, they're doing much fewer promotions, and they're looking to add better vendors and tons of shop-in-shops. Oh, and Ellen Degeneres is their new spokesperson.
So you can keep it all straight, we've outlined some of the biggest plans and put them after the jump. Just so you know the gravity that we're dealing with here, head to their Facebook page and watch the new commercials.
1. Prices will be cheaper:JCPenney recognizes that pretty much all of their products don't leave the store until they're at least marked down from 40% to 60% off, so that's now the price they've decided to sell them at—all the time. For example, one of their best selling towels starts at $10, but nobody actually buys it until it's about $6 dollars cheaper on sale. So now, they'll always sell that towel for $4.
2. Instead of 500+ promotions a year, they're only doing 12: The company has decided to drastically cut the amount of promotions it runs a year—instead of holding different ones daily, they will now only have one for each month. Yep, each month the store will hold a promotion tied into the seasonal things people during that time: For February, there will be promos pertaining to revamping your home, Valentine's Day, and purchasing those first few spring items.
3. There will be shop-in-shops. Lots: Currently, walking into a JCPenney is like walking into rows and rows or racks, and it's always been far from appealing. So to fix that, shop-in-shops will fill the store. Over the course of a year, shops from Liz Claiborne, Izod, and L'amour Nanette Lepore will all begin to make an appearance, until the entire thing is all shops.
4. A lax return policy: This, perhaps, is the best part of the whole thing: You'll be able to return any item, at any time, and for any reason
5. Catalogs and ads will have kids, hipsters, and dogs in them: Each month, the store will release a 96 page book that's editorialized and trend-focused. We also spotted several dogs in the ads and upcoming commercials, as well as kids being cute, and one hipster-looking guy with a beard and skinny jeans.
6. Color: Color is now a really big deal to JCPenney. Each month will get its own color, and that color will be merchandised throughout the collections and will be prominent on the store fixtures. That color will also be projected onto the outside of the stores, in case it wasn't obvious enough while you're inside.
· JCP [Facebook]