PLANO, Texas-CEO Ron Johnson conducted a tour of the J.C. Penney shops format for financial analysts last week, with the intent of delivering the message, “Shops are working.”
Johnson took the analysts through the store’s prototype, which has 17 shops which he described as “pure. Meaning if you’re in the Disney shop, you’re going to feel like you’re in the Disney store. If you’re in the Joe Fresh shop, you’re going to believe you’re in the Joe Fresh store.” It also has The Street, an activities area in which shoppers can take a pause during their trip to the store. Eventually, it will also feature The Square, “our dynamic seasonal space,” as Johnson described it, with shops that will change all the time. “Merchandise will come and go,” Johnson said. “When we’re all done and we have 100 (shops), we expect 25 to change every year.”
One of the shops in the prototype is for Bodum, with its housewares merchandise. Johnson said J.C. Penney will have Bodum shops in 700 stores next spring. As far as other home offerings, he made no mention of the Martha Stewart program, which is due to have shops in the stores by next February.
Fielding questions from the analysts after the presentation, Johnson said the new format has changed the retailer’s buying process. “Our buyers have to think and buy like specialty-store buyers,” he said. “It’s a very different process for newness, versus buying things early in the season, trusting that through a bunch of sales and coupons, they’ll eventually go away.”
Summing up this massive effort, Johnson said, “(W)e’re going to redefine the way America shops through a whole new interface for retail and a new experience. We’re going to transition…from a promotional model that Penney’s is…to what we call a specialty department store.”