As I have made my way driving across the northern regions of the great state of Texas, I’ve passed several small towns celebrating their JCPenney Store’s centennial. What an amazing piece of history retail plays, and the future is still incredibly bright. “What do you think the future of retail is,” I have been asked by each and every family member I encounter over the past week, “things aren’t looking good.” My response:
Retail’s fate is not grim. Not as grim as media would lead you to believe.
Despite Closings, Profit Was Reported for 2016
The Headlines Read: 138 JCP stores closing, 5,000 out of work! What those headlines left out was the fact that stores were not closing due to a loss of business, but instead as a part of the exciting revitalization retail is facing with the great omnichannel presences. The media also did not include that of these 5,000 out of work there will be a voluntary early retirement program offered. And despite what the headline implies, JCP actually reported their first profit since 2010 this past year.
The stores closing are the smaller stores, ones that take allot of overhead versus the amount they are actually earning for the company. Cutting those expenses will help JCP move forward to bigger places. So what’s the big picture? What’s the game plan? Here are just a few of the big details:
Salons are receiving a full overhaul from appearance, to services, to quality. First off they will be a full service salon, and second they are looking to attract the most talented hairstylists by giving them full control of their practice and benefit packages without having to rent the booth. For customers they want to continue to expand their omnichannel presence, allowing customers to book appointments from their phones with the JCP In Style App.
The idea is the make JCP an all around service. Receive your beauty advice from Sephora, get your hair and nails pampered at the salon, and leave with a hot new outfit all in the comforts of one department store. I love this idea, bringing us back to the original origins of Department Stores, a full service customer experience but still at JCP prices.
Expanding to Appliances
About a month ago my husband and I went shopping for a refrigerator, considering that was the only appliance that would not fit on the moving truck. With the convenience of the many errands we can accomplish at The Florida Mall we wandered into Sears. I looked at my husband again with great frustration, “why keep clothing? Jewlery? If you are the anchor store that offers appliances, why not doubled down on home furnishings and services? It’s obviously a booming business as we watch the sales for Home Depot and Lowes maintain their speeds through the rough waters of retail change.
JC Penney sees the same opportunity, 2/3 of homes in the U.S. are 30 plus years old and they will be taking their share of those home improvements. Presently, JCP is in talks with big name brands like Samsung to set up retail and service agreements. This new expansion will be gradual, and is focusing first in the towns/areas that have already lost their local Sears.
So for the 23% of you who voted JCP on this Shop Girl’s Poll, there is still hope yet!