“And this mess is so big
And so deep and so tall,
We cannot pick it up.
There is no way at all!”
―Dr. Suess, The Cat In The Hat
Months ago, when I wrote about J.C . Penney’s decision to do away with sales and coupons, I never expected to get multiple posts out of the topic. But they continued to make news, first for admitting their mistake of ending sale prices, then before I could even hit the publish button, I came across a new report that they were going to set aside large areas within their stores, and devote it to just selling Levi’s jeans.
Today I came across The 10 Weirdest Things J.C. Penney’s CEO Told Wall Street Last Week – DailyFinance, and as hard as I tried to resist, I just couldn’t leave it alone. I had to share:
“The first and most encouraging thing to me is I am completely convinced that our transformation is on track. We are making extraordinary progress in everything we’re doing.”
I guess, if his goal was to send customers running for the exit doors, he’s doing a damn extraordinary job of it. Keep up the good work!
“In haircuts, it’s pretty incredible. Today we will cut on our tenth day of this effort to help Americans look better, help the kids look better. We’ll do our 500,000th haircut, free haircuts. And today customers will book their millionth appointment during the month of August to get a haircut.”
Sounds like an incredible plan, give away millions of dollars in free services, hoping someone will buy a package of underwear on their way out of the store.
“We’re reducing the money on television. We’ll still run television and we’re investing heavily in the traditional traffic driving median, so be in the newspaper and we think that’s going to be good.”
Since circulation for newspapers in at an all-time low, advertising in them sounds like a brilliant business strategy.
“We’re going to go paperless…Imagine a retail store without any paper except the signs, because everything will be done digitally through iPods and iPads and these are our priorities and those are all priorities within the next 12 to 18 months.”
Wait, first paper is good, then paper is bad? Now I’m really confused.
“Well, for the first 10 days with our new marketing, our traffic is down 7% to last year, which is a dramatic improvement.”
Ah, thank you. Now I get it.
“We’re inspired by Selfridges. Selfridges is the leading department store in the world. You ask any retailer what’s the number one department store? They will all say Selfridges.”
Personally I have never heard of Selfridges, so I’ll have to take his word on that. Maybe I should check Selfridges out, to see if they’re running any good sales.
“It’s a place to refresh and we’re going to have coffee bars and juice bars and place to get food, that’s 25 square feet of space, but by putting our a few tables, that have no cost, where we used to have cash wraps, no one has to leave the store if they want to refresh they can grab a cup of coffee while someone shops and continue to stay in the store and continue to shop.”
When I come in for my free haircut, do you think I could have a few of those no-cost tables? They will come in handy when I make all of those purchases at Selfridges, that is, once I can locate one.
“We’ve rolled out Wi-Fi, but we really don’t have a lot of use for it.”
Trust me, Wi-Fi will come in handy what with all the iPads your employees will be carrying around. Since there will likely be no customers in the store, your employees will have plenty of time to search online for new jobs.
“What happens in a big mall of a 1 million square feet, about 600,000 square feet goes to the anchors and the common area which leaves about 400,000 square feet for the stores and the store’s average 3,000 to 4,000 square feet. So, you run the math, you have about 100 to 120 stores in a typical mall we’re in. We’ll have just as many shops with inside J.C. Penney and that’s what we call it a specialty department store. It’s like a mall within a mall.”
Ron, were you dropped on your head often as a child?
“Yeah, were very anxious to communicate our pricing to our customers and we have failed at that, right? They were confused. Now, we have a pricing strategy that they understand. We have done focused groups around the country over the last 30 days with our new pricing strategy and they all say, we get it, whereas before, they were confused.”
Thank you for clearing that up. Is it possible they simply said they understood to just make you stop talking? Perhaps you confused banging their heads against the table for nodding in agreement.
And the grand finale:
“At Apple our stores were busy when we only had Macs. Then we added the iPod; they got busier. We added the iPhone; they got busier yet. We added the iPad, and they got busier. The same thing will happen here. Next spring, it’s Joe Fresh, Martha Stewart, all our new partners. It will be just like Apple: boom, boom, boom.”
Sorry to break it to you Ron, but those loud booms are going to be the sound of J.C. Penney’s self-destruction. It will be a miracle if the company is even still in business by next spring.
My related posts:
Who Expected Another Such Brilliant Marketing Move From Penney’s So Soon?
What Was JCP Thinking?