Los Angeles shoppers have one final weekend to experience the biggest and craziest sale ever from jcpenney before the retailer says goodbye to coupons, percent–off sales, daily sales, clearance sales, and its tired, old outdated image when February 1 rolls around.
Under control by former Apple executive Ron Johnson, who took the reins as CEO for jcpenney last November, has been making a move to push the retailer in a different direction similar to Walmart’s every day low pricing and Target’s clean modern image.
Although jcpenney went through a rebranding phase last year with a new logo, it will be replaced with a new one along with the way jcpenney has been doing business with its customers.
Amongst all the changes within two short months, the company has received a major brand change starting with a new name, new logo, new advertising, new spokesperson (talk show host Ellen DeGeneres), new pricing strategy, an investment with Martha Stewart and another design partnership with Nanette Lepore.
This history of jcpenney originally began on April 14, 1902 when James Cash Penney started his career in retail management with partners Guy Johnson and Thomas Callahan by opening The Golden Rule store in Kemmerer, Wyoming. After two more stores were created, Johnson and Callahan dissolved the partnership in 1907 and Penney purchased full interest in all three locations. By 1912, Penney had 34 stores in the Rocky Mountain States and in 1913, the company was incorporated under the new name, J.C. Penney Company, with William Henry McManus as a co–founder.
The company’s original logo identity was written in black capital letters placed inside a yellow rectangular box and placed on front of the store until the 1960s.
By 1962, J.C. Penney had grown to over 1,600 stores in 48 states, started national advertising with a series of advertisements in Life magazine, issued J.C. Penney credit cards and began its first catalog.
In 1963, the logo identity received its first brand makeover when the name was changed from “J.C. Penney” to “Penneys” and the logo itself was changed with a new font and the colors powder blue and black.
On February 12, 1971, James Cash Penney died at the age of 95 and when the stores closed for half a day, the company’s revenues reached $5 billion for the first time and catalog business made a profit too.
In the early summer of 1971, the retailer changed its logo identity to “JCPenney” in red letters and it took nearly a decade for the change to happen chain–wide. The image remained unchanged for 30 years until graphic design student Luke Langhus redesigned it by putting the company name in all lowercase red letters and placing the “jcp” in white letters in a red box.
However, the latest identity change didn’t last long because Johnson used his training and skills from his previous stints with Target and Apple to have the company’s entire brand undergo a drastic makeover starting with the company name and logo.
Usually it will take years for a company to do the research, implement changes and perform several tests for a name change, logo identity and complete overhaul of the company’s entire brand to take effect.
jcpenney is completing their transformation in approximately six months.
The jcpenney brand has a completely new identity as the name has been changed from “jcpenney” to “jcp”. The “jcp” font has also been changed and now sits in the middle of a blue box situated in the upper left corner of a red frame because the logo has been designed to mimic the American flag.
Other branding changes include new ads that began airing on Wednesday with a shopper screaming “No” to discounts as they look in their mailbox, a pile of coupons and big sales signs. A new 96–page catalog will be mailed every month to their 14 million customers along with other promotional efforts and former jcpenny associate, Ellen DeGeneres, will become the company’s spokesperson and brand partner.
Even their bags will have a completely new design, but everything is starting to look eerily similar to Target’s advertising materials.
Under Johnson’s direction, all stores will replace the old, outdated jcpenney signage with the new logo. Inside the store, customers will no longer come face–to–face with outdated merchandising fixtures from the 1980s, but will be welcomed to a “Main Street of shops” that will showcase 80 to 100 different brands similar to a shopping excursion at an Apple store.
“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,” said Johnson.
“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”.
But the biggest shock customers will face when jcpenney’s doors open Wednesday morning will be a lower price point on all merchandise with an exact number such as $20 for a pair of jeans as opposed to a price at $19.99, and there won’t be any sales.
Coupons will be useless.
jcpenney is slashing prices on all merchandise by 40 percent because customers won’t pay for the true value of product when they can wait for it to go on sale at a lesser price.
So basically, jcpenney is giving customers what they essentially want when they go shopping during a sale: a lower price, every day.
Hence the name for their pricing strategy: Fair and Square.
“Pricing is actually a pretty simple and straightforward thing,” said Johnson. “Customers will not pay literally a penny more than the true value of the product.”
The company will no longer be covering the price with numerous sales price tags as it currently does. Instead, there will be a new price tag for each item indicating a red tag as an “Every Day” price, a white tag a “Month–Long Value” and a blue tag a “Best Price”.
jcpenney’s pricing strategy will make sale prices become every day prices because there will be fewer sales going on throughout the year. Selected items will only go on sale each month for a “Month–Long Value”. For example, jewelry and Valentine’s Day gifts would go on sale in February, while Christmas decorations would be discounted in November. Merchandise that isn’t selling very well would go on clearance the first and third Friday of every month typically when most Americans get paid. Those items would be tagged “Best Prices” letting customers know that’s the cheapest price.
Instead of bombarding customers with a relentless series of sales, coupons, rebates and retail gimmicks, the retailer 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 that month.
“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,” Johnson said.
Los Angeles shoppers can check out the new changes by visiting any of the five jcpenney stores throughout the city at Gage & Pacific Store, 6420 S Pacific Blvd., Huntington Park, CA; Glendale Galleria, 1169 Glendale Galleria, Glendale, CA; Montebello Mall, 1600 Town Center Dr., Montebello, CA; Fox Hills Mall now known at Westfield Culver City Shopping Center, 6000 S. Hannum Ave., Culver City, CA; and Burbank Shipping Center, 1812 W. Burbank Blvd., Burbank, CA.
Changes to your Los Angeles jcpenney store will begin on February 1, but the in–store experience with new merchandise and presentations will start in August adding two to three stores every month until completed in 2015.