Have you seen those recent commercials on TV with a bunch of random people screaming "NOOOO!" at coupons and signs that have various "__% off" on them? Chances are you have. If you're out of the loop, JC Penney is restructuring the company, including their pricing strategy by converting to what they call "Fair & Square" Every Day Low Pricing. The pricing will go like the photo below:
"Every Day Low" Pricing is the same strategy that Wal-Mart uses
The biggest of the changes JCP is making: Red, White & Blue price tags. Each price category will get separate tags. Also, you will notice instead of "$7.99", the prices will read "8", similar to Walmart.
- Everyday: Regular Prices - Since JCP typically used to carry their merchandise with 40% signs everywhere, they've basically just removed the 40% sign, and included this in their initial markup.
- Month-Long Values: Prices on sale for the entire month. Remember how you used to get all those coupons in the mail that you'd have to bring in, but only valid for certain days, weekends, or special hours? Now you get it for the entire month.
- Best Prices: Super clearance prices. Before, you'd see a sign marking items off to up 75%. This is basically what you'll be finding. However, these will be the lowest prices you'll see on the 1st and 3rd Friday of each month (every payday).
Other changes coming to JCP:
- New Logo: Representing their "Fair & Square" pricing and resembling the American flag
- JCP Cash: JC Penney Cash that was previously allowed to be used in the same visit will no longer take place. Instead, the retailer will offer reward points. Once you reach 250 points you will be eligible for a coupon.
- Store Layout: Less in-store displays, more open concept. Departments will be comprised of small boutique looking areas with a service center called "Town Square"
- New Brands: Coming to a JCP near you, new brands will be introduced and some less popular (lower in sales) brands will be phased out. Among the new brands, a new Martha Stewart Collection. In fact, this has caused quite the controversy with MS & Macy's who was supposed to have an exclusivity contract with Macy's. She's now being sued (Read about it here).
- Refund Policy: Similar to Kohls, JCP will now offer a "No Questions Asked" Refund Policy.
Changes took place in stores on February 1st. However, the company does not plan to see an accurate increase in sales for 18 months while consumers adjust to the new JC Penney. (Read about all the changes to JCP here).
These changes come after former Apple VP, Ron Johnson took over as JCP's new CEO. Johnson was responsible for the concept of Apple's "Genius Bar". This should be interesting to see how the rest of the retail market follows or ignores the new branding strategy as well as how customers perceive the changes. What are your thoughts? Smart moves for the retailer?