JCPenney’s Revamped Home Department Turned Into Its Biggest Problem (JCP)

Thousand-dollar chairs don't appeal to JCP customers

   

JCPenney’s (JCP) revamped home department, packed full of celebrity names and modern decor, was supposed to save the brand by bringing in new customers.

Instead, executives are scrambling to shutter boutiques and make the home department look like it did before failed CEO Ron Johnson issued its makeover in 2012, reports Chris Burritt at Bloomberg News.

Analysts initially praised plans for JCPenney’s home department, which included collaborations with impressive names like home maven Martha Stewart, architect Michael Graves, and designer Jonathan Adler.

So why did the home makeover fail?

Because JCPenney’s customers care about value — not hip decor or designer names.

Take this Jonathan Adler chair, which was originally priced at $1,695 (it’s now on sale for $1,015):

The hefty price tag puts the chair in the category of higher-end retailers like West Elm.

Other expensive assortments include a Martha Stewart damask rug ($1,400), a champagne glass floor lamp ($750), and a Michael Graves toaster ($86).

JCPenney’s other categories, like women’s fashion and accessories, are performing better than the home department, the company said in a release today.

That’s because interim CEO Mike Ullman has focused on what works for JCPenney — basic merchandise and promotions.

He’s planning to do the same for the home department.

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