How JCPenney plans to win back shoppers
By John P. Lohr, The Baltimore Sun
Published On: Nov 5, 2012 | Public Domain | For use with permission.
When JCPenney was acquired in March of this year by its longtime rival Kohl’s, it was quickly apparent that the company’s future was far more uncertain than its previous owner had imagined.
JCPenney, which boasts a store count in the millions and a market value north of $25 billion, is one of the oldest and largest of the nation’s department stores, first opening its flagship store at Broadway and South street in 1927, in one of the country’s most prestigious shopping malls, J. W. Jones, and its chain of nearly 14,000 stores in 38 states. This fall, the venerable chain is closing a number of its stores as part of a plan to trim its store count by 12 percent by 2015.
By then, JCPenney’s stores will be among many in the retail industry. The behemoth of the chain, which had long been viewed by observers as too large and too diverse to survive in any form, was acquired by American Greetings to be positioned for further growth.
Now Kohl’s, which is just now in full swing, is asking people to give JCPenney the benefit of the doubt, to view the recent changes as a step toward a better and more sustainable future.
“We are working with JCPenney to ensure that the transition from Kohl’s will work out well for all involved,” said Brian L. Shuster, Kohl’s senior vice president in charge of retail.
“They have invested almost more than we did and they’re an honorable company. We’ve gotten into a relationship of trust with them and are eager to move forward with a smooth transition.”
JCPenney is being sold at a discount to Kohl’s, a deal that should raise nearly $800 million in annual