J.C. Penney Introduces New Store Layout
It's been nine months since Chief Executive Ron Johnson began his mission to turn J.C. Penney into "JCP, America's Favorite Store." Last week, the brand took another step in its transformation with the introduction of a new layout for its U.S. stores. The revolutionized way of shopping, deemed a "shop within a shop" in the retail community, is one of the many steps J.C. Penney has taken to overhaul its image. Since taking on this challenge, Johnson's reputation as a retail visionary has slowly morphed into one of a retail extremist who has bitten off more then he can chew.
J.C Penney's stock has plummeted dramatically this year, with shares down 17 percent thus far. The reviews are still mixed (although tending to be more negative than positive) when discussing if the retailer's "Fair and Square" marketing/pricing strategy has worked. In fact, it was reported just this week that J.C. Penney will be bringing back coupons for the holiday season, yet Johnson remains positive and believes in his vision.
"We're going to create a new category: We're going to call it the specialty department store. It's going to be profound," Johnson stated earlier this year to Forbes. Bloomberg reports that J.C. Penney will eventually have 100 branded shops within its stores by 2014, with 25 of the brands changing each year. Retailers that have partnered with J.C. Penney for its shop-within-a-shop program include Levi's, Liz Claiborne, Betseyville and Sephora.
"We're incredibly excited to be opening this new concept," said Carrie Barrus, J.C. Penney's Branch Manager for the Willow Grove Mall, outside of Philadelphia, at the store's grand opening last Friday. "Our team has worked countless hours to introduce the new format, we're really proud of what we've accomplished here and we think our customers will be very impressed as well."
Although the shop-within-a-shop layout has had its critics in the past, it seems other retailers, including Macy's, may be changing their minds when it comes to the format. Macy's is partnering with Toys"R"Us this holiday season to have the toy retailer's products available in its stores. — Caitlin Sullivan
Check out the multimedia box in the top right-hand corner of this page for some video taken at last week's grand opening of the J.C. Penney store at the Willow Grove Park Mall.