JCPenney sells “goods for a penny”

RetailWire panelists recently had a chance to discuss a new promotion at JCPenney (buy one item, second for a penny) and what it says about JCP’s growth prospects. I wouldn’t read too much into it:

For those with a long memory (meaning that we remember JCP before the Ron Johnson era), this is something of an echo of Penney’s Anniversary Sales. JCP occasionally ran “second item for a penny” during these events and as Black Friday doorbusters. It’s the equivalent of “buy one, get one free” and is a good tool for selling key items bought in depth at a cost where you can still make money at 50% off.

The campaign will drive sales, traffic and sampling of private label goods — all important tactics for JCP in the short term. But pay more attention to the strategic steps that Mr. Ellison has taken in the past six months — especially in areas like IT, omnichannel and logistics. These won’t be as visible as new marketing and promotional tactics but will pay dividends in the future if Penney can keep its sales momentum moving.

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