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02/26/16

Penny candy: Why JC Penny is barely hanging on

JC Penny is finally living up to its name.
Literally. 
With business beyond bad and the store on the brink of being as extinct as any retailer can be, the store is going the route of massive discounts to gain back their market share (which seems too little, too late at this point).
Those discounts center on offering markdowns on almost everything, and even having some items that are being offered for a penny.
Yes, an actual, lonesome penny.
I think I'd rather take that penny and ask JC Penny for their thoughts on exactly what they believe this strategy is going to work. The thing with discounts to that degree (or any really) is the frequency with which you do them and just how ridiculous they've become.

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Any store can offer a one day only sale, but if you do it 50 times per year, it loses its value. In the case of JC Penny, they're drastic reductions suggest more desperation than actually wanting to get back into the retail game.
It feels more like a fire sale than flexing of the retail muscles.
Any time a store or establishment discounts, it gives the consumer reason to devalue the product or service. That's why fine dining restaurants don't offer two for one deals, but rather rely on the quality versus the quantity.
If only it was that easy for JC Penny. The store is rife with issues and have been for quite some time, so a sale of this magnitude isn't going to register with the consumer. It's going to do the opposite: get people in the door and have them spend very little for a lot of products.
Some experts have suggested that JC Penny rely on anything exclusive that belongs to the brand. A store can survive if they're the only place you can find a particular name brand, and the retailer can mark that as exclusive to the store. That is the kind of marketing Penny's needs to hone in on, rather than making the store look like a glorified garage sale.
Stranger things in retail have happened, and a turnaround from JC Penny isn't impossible. The problem is it is quite improbable given the strategy they've opted to implement. What they're doing is, despite claims to the otherwise, is coming across more desperate and drastic than as visionaries of buying.
Until they make some real noise, this penny sale is paltry at best.

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