JC Penney Redesigns
Mary is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) recently made a bold move when it hired former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson last November. Then, this April, the company also snagged Benjamin Fay, former Apple Senior Director of Retail Real Estate and Development. The company is trying to re-brand itself and is already making plans to face lift several of its stores throughout the U.S. J.C. Penney currently operates 1,100 stores. According to its website, the company is “re-imagining every aspect of its business in order to reclaim its birthright and become America’s favorite store. The company is transforming the way it does business and remaking the customer experience.” However, the company may be facing resistance from within its own walls.
J.C. Penney is trying to elevate its standing as a retailer, transforming itself into a hipper, trendier, younger shopping spot. Its competitor Dillard’s (NYSE: DDS) has tried to accomplish the same thing, however unsuccessfully. They are one of the nation’s largest fashion apparel, cosmetics, and home furnishings retailers with annual revenues exceeding $6.2 billion. They currently operate 294 stores in 29 states. Dillard’s has tried whole-heartedly to transform itself over the past several years. They have added designer labels and gotten rid of some of their more out-dated brands. However, this has had little impact. The retailer was hit hard by the recession, resulting in many layoffs at their corporate headquarters in Arkansas. The one thing that they did not do was change the look of their stores. They still have the same feel and layout as they did a decade ago.
Sears (NASDAQ: SHLD) has gone much the same way. The retailer has failed to keep up with the times and its stores, like Dillard’s, still maintain the same appearance. However, Sears has tried to gain more of the online crowd through its social shopping experience, ShopYourWay.com, where members have the ability to earn points and receive benefits. The site has not been as successful as the company might have hoped. Sears also owns discount retailer Kmart, which is on the brink of extinction throughout the U.S. What Sears does have going for it is its proprietary brands such as Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard. But even then, these brands are having trouble keeping up with what is available at retailers such as Lowe’s and Home Depot.
Dillard’s and Sears have tried to keep up with the times, but have failed. One thing that neither has tried, though, is a complete re-branding of stores. For some reason, most retailers fall behind in this area. Automobile manufacturers change their image programs and require face lifts from their dealers every few years. Retail just has not kept up. Everyone will be waiting to see if J.C. Penney’s new image will affect sales.
MaryPosey has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Dillard's. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.