JCP: Evidence of a pulse?

I posted these comments on RetailWire in response to the news that the JCP “free haircuts in August” promotion has at least succeeded in drawing foot traffic to the store. The question is whether ideas like this will offset the absence of any other promotional strategy:

The free haircut offer is an indicator that the “Town Square” strategy of drawing traffic through event marketing has a chance to be successful. It’s one of the few “calls to action” that JCP has unveiled since its new strategy was announced earlier this year. This may be just in time, because the second-quarter results to be announced this Friday are not likely to be pretty. (Note: they weren’t.)

As the article points out, the biggest question is whether the added foot traffic converts to added business. I shopped a JCP store last Friday (in Rockford, IL) and I don’t want to draw too many conclusions from one store visit, but there was more traffic than I had seen for months. However, customers were shopping clearance (it was “Best Price Friday” and the store was loaded), not the goods in the new shops. There were lines at the register that was open — take that as a positive sign if you want, or as a disappointing lack of customer service.

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