J.C. Penney Wants to Be the Mall King

At a time when brick-and-mortar stalwarts Sears and Macy’s are shuttering dozens of stores in an attempt to stop bleeding billions in losses, shopping center standard-bearer J.C. Penney is expanding.

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Staggering from nearly $9 billion in losses the past few years, Sears is pulling out of malls across the country and Macy’s announced in early August it would close up shop in 100 in as-yet unidentified locations as a move company executives sold to investors as a path to a brighter future for the brand.

Four years ago J.C. Penney was on the same track. Its former chief executive officer made a series of unfortunate decisions which left the Plano, Texas-based company reeling on the verge of disaster.

But new leadership, millions spent on intense research on its customer-base, and a streamlined product focus have led to resurgence.

And so despite the doomsday scenarios its brick-and-mortar competitors are facing, J.C. Penney is adding new merchandise and exclusive partnerships with companies that produce beauty, home goods, and special-size products which will best connect with its customer base. The ultimate goal is to become the anchor store at the shopping center in your town.

So far it is working: stock prices have rebounded and less than ten J.C. Penney stores failed to turn a profit this year, with locations in rural markets performing exceptionally well.

Source: “J.C. Penney Aims to Be King of the Mall as Rivals Retreat,” Bloomberg Markets (Aug. 25, 2016)

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