Big changes are ahead for J.C. Penney.
At a press event in New York City on Wednesday, the retail giant announced transformation plans that "will transform the jcpenney shopping experience by fundamentally re-imagining every aspect of the company's business and boldly pursuing change."
"The department store is the number one opportunity in retail today. We are going to rethink every aspect of our business, boldly pursue change, and create long-term shareholder value, as we become America's favorite store. Every initiative we pursue will be guided by our core value to treat customers as we would like to be treated - fair and square. Beginning February 1, we will have Fair and Square Pricing, making every day a great day to shop. We will create tremendous excitement through monthly promotions that are in sync with the rhythm of our customers' lives. And we will transform each and every jcpenney store over the next four years with a month-by-month, shop-by-shop roll-out of exciting new merchandise initiatives," Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson said in a news release.
The changes, according to the news release, include:
Fair and Square Pricing and Monthly Promotions in Sync with Customers' Lives:
During the presentation, Johnson and J.C. Penney President Michael Francis introduced a new pricing strategy called Fair and Square, which includes three types of prices. Everyday, regular prices, which are always great; Month-Long Values, even better prices on the things you need now; and Best Prices, jcpenney's lowest prices, which always happen on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of every month as jcpenney makes room for exciting new merchandise.
These prices will be coupled with a new promotional cadence that is in sync with customers' lives. Rather than inundating the customer with a relentless series of sales, coupons, rebates and retail gimmicks, jcpenney will host 12 promotional events each year, on a monthly calendar. Each month will include even better values on the things customers are looking to buy during the month and a host of exciting products and services that are unique to the month.
Commenting on the new monthly calendar, Johnson said, "We want customers to shop on their terms, not ours. By setting our store monthly and maintaining our best prices for an entire month, we feel confident that customers will love shopping when it is convenient for them, rather than when it is expedient for us."
Re-inventing the In-Store Experience around New and Transformed Brands:
At the event, Johnson and Francis also outlined plans to entirely re-invent the jcpenney store experience, to include Main Street -- the entire store merchandised in a series of 80 to 100 brand shops, rather than the confusing and seemingly endless racks common in department stores today. It will also feature Town Square -- an exciting new place that replaces the traditional retail center core of a department store with a series of services, which customers will enjoy before they buy, while they shop and afterwards. And, throughout, the new jcpenney store experience will merge the physical and digital worlds, assuring the physical retail stores' vital role as the centerpiece of retailing's future.
They also gave a sneak peek into the exciting new brands that will be featured in jcpenney's brand shops. They include Martha Stewart and l'amour nanette lepore, which were shown at the event today, among many others. jcpenney also announced plans to transform its customers' favorite existing brands, including, IZOD, Liz Claiborne and The Original Arizona Jean Company, which were also featured at today's event, and a number of others. jcpenney expects to feature 30 new and transformed brands by fall 2012.
Launching a new jcpenney brand identity, new logo, new look and Ellen!
In celebration of the complete transformation of its shopping experience, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Francis gave an overview of the new jcpenney brand identity. It includes:
o The new jcpenney logo, which combines the elements that have made jcpenney an enduring American brand, by evoking the nation's flag and jcpenney's commitment to treating customers Fair and Square. The square frame imagery will be evident throughout all of jcpenney's marketing, to remind customers to frame the things they love.
o New brand marketing to showcase great product in an exciting new way, to solidify jcpenney's relationship with its loyal customers and entice new ones. This includes the new monthly book, beginning next month, that millions of Americans will receive, which includes 96 pages of highlights for that month, as well as an entirely new look for jcpenney stores in terms of signage and presentation.
o Welcoming Ellen DeGeneres back to jcpenney, as jcpenney's new brand partner. Ellen began her career in her teens as a jcpenney associate and now, as one of the country's most beloved television personalities, she will help bring the new jcpenney experience to life in her own fun-loving, sneaker-wearing, laugh-making way.
Francis said, "We are redefining the jcpenney brand so we become a store for all Americans, by offering an experience they cannot get anywhere else. This will start by freeing consumers from the barrage of promotions and undifferentiated shopping experiences they have become used to and replacing it with something entirely fresh and new that is evident in every aspect of our store – new brands, new marketing, unique attractions, and much more. Beginning on February 1, our customers will see immediate changes that give a sense of how we will transform jcpenney over the next four years. It will be a breath of much-needed fresh air and give them reasons to visit jcpenney more often than ever before. Our objective is to make our customers love to shop again and across jcpenney, we're very excited about the changes to come."
The Transformation Begins on February 1
The Company will begin the transformation of the jcpenney shopping experience on February 1, with the implementation of its new logo, pricing strategy and monthly cadence, including new in-store signage reflecting true price clarity as well as edited merchandise assortments for the monthly store set.
Then, beginning in August of this year, jcpenney will begin a month-by-month, shop-by-shop strategy to update all stores with new and exciting merchandise and presentation. Two to three shops will be installed monthly, each and every month, over a four-year transformation period, including the debut of Town Square during 2013. These initiatives will culminate in the complete transformation of jcpenney by the end of 2015.