RetailWire panelists were mostly skeptical about a study by Experian (the big credit rating firm) ranking JCP as #2 among retailers for the overall strength of its Back to School e-commerce business. Here’s my point of view:
I’m dubious about the Experian data and would like to see other studies backing it up. Just to cite one example, it’s hard to see why Target — a much bigger company with a more robust business in BTS categories — would be surpassed by JCPenney in its recovery mode.
The JCP turnaround story (and stock price) was unfortunately clouded yesterday by apparently incorrect reporting about credit issues. (Inaccurate reporting and the New York Post…enough said.) There is evidence that JCP traffic counts and comp sales are starting to improve against terrible 2012 comparisons, but there is also evidence in the stores that the company has a long way to go. Outside of a few pockets of merchandise strength, such as school uniforms, there is not enough conviction in areas like dorm room supplies, even in much-touted areas like the new Home Store.