JC Penny Says Goodbye to Sales: Will they also say goodbye to profit?

Feb 1, 2012  |  By Civilian  |  

A few months ago, JC Penney launched a new set of advertisements catered to the male demographic.  As I predicted this campaign did not bode well for the company, particularly due to the “Phoebe” spot which landed JCP with accusations of sexism and just plain being offensive.  The “Everybody Wins” campaign may have incurred even greater criticism than the “I’m too pretty to do homework” t-shirt fiasco shortly before.

Whether there was merit to either of these consumer complaints, JCP has responded and is now taking a new approach to win back favor.  Their approach: Staring February 1, they will slash prices by 40% across the board and never offer a sales promotion again through their new “Every Day” campaign.

Theoretically, lower prices are great.  Who doesn’t love a good bargain?  However, I can’t help but think that once again, the JCP marketing team may not have thought this through completely.  Personally, what excites me about a great deal is that something that did cost $45, only costs me $25, and I can take the savings and walk away or put it towards a matching purse.  Chances are, if I saw that very same top, not on sale, for $25, I would pass it by and not think twice.  Why is that the case when it’s the same cost?  If there’s no obvious price slash, I don’t perceive it as a deal.

That being said, Wal-mart is renowned for having great prices every day, rarely if ever has sales, and they’ve built an untouchable empire on this very strategy.  While I wouldn’t necessarily put Wal-mart shoppers and JCP shoppers in the same clique- JCP doesn’t seem to know who their market is so maybe they’re hoping to utilize the daily deal approach.

What’s truly fascinating about this whole campaign is the strategy JCP is taking to introduce this new tactic.  Through a TV spot with virtually no information, and a Facebook page that welcomes me to the “biggest and best-ever crazy and exhausting and totally confusing sale ever,” only to tell me there will be no sales, I’m not really sure what to think.  I can only watch and wait for my “[update] when things return to common sense on 2.1.12.”

Sarah Matley
Account Coordinator
Mood: Snappy

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