Can Penney catch up on omnichannel?

JCPenney announced in August that some key new hires will focus on omnichannel. It’s an area where JCP has lagged for a few years, and I joined several RetailWire panelists in praising the move:

Mike Ullman and now Marvin Ellison have acknowledged that JCPenney is behind its key competitors (like Kohl’s and especially Macy’s) on the omnichannel front. It’s one of the biggest lost opportunities from the Ron Johnson era at JCP, and Ullman’s last two years were rightfully focused on survival tactics and turnaround strategies in the brick-and-mortar stores. The new hires send an obvious message that it’s time to catch up.

Meanwhile, it’s crucial that JCPenney gets this right. The company already has too many stores operating well below the productivity of its competitors on a sales-per-sq. foot basis, so omnichannel initiatives like BOPIS can only help drive store productivity and traffic. JCP also has a heritage as a “fulfillment” company, not just an operator of stores, so it’s a natural opportunity.

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