JC Penney’s Retail Strategy – Is it Working?

Ron Johnson, CEO of JC Penney, has been trying very hard to differentiate JC Penney through a  combination of store revamp and an everyday low price strategy (as opposed to frequent promotions and sale). I was curious to check out the revamped JC Penney store and I startled my wife when I suggested we check out JC Penney (I usually stay clear of stores and malls).

I did notice the concept of “shops within the store”, with each brand getting its own area. What caught my attention was Levi’s section. They had a two iPad “stands” on the counter. One had the iPad, and the other was empty. I wanted to check out what this iPad had to offer. The only thing I could access in this iPad was the internet. I spent some time reading Google News and weather! Kudos to the JC Penney IT team, they had a super fast WiFi!

I was pretty sure, they did not envision customers walking up the Levi’s section and browse the internet! I checked with the store employee and he explained that the iPad was actually meant to show a Levi’s app that allowed male customers explore different styles and fits. He then unlocked the iPad stand to let me see the app. Here is a snapshot.

Levi's iPad app at JC Penney

Levi’s iPad app at JC Penney

In summary, there is a gap between strategy and execution. While JC Penney got most of the new strategy right last evening, they fell short in tying up some loose ends (or is this something Levi’s should be worried about?). Time will tell if Ron Johnson’s “Apple Strategy” will help JC Penney bounce back.

Srinivas Krishnaswamy


I love to read and share thoughts on technology, enterprise learning, mobile and any thing cool that impacts enterprises.

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Posted in Retail

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