NEW YORK–J.C. Penney’s wide-ranging remodel of its operations will re-energize its home business, according to John Tighe, the company’s senior vice president and general merchandise manager of home.
Speaking yesterday to HFN after the investor meeting in which Ron Johnson, CEO, and Michael Francis, president, detailed their reconceptualization of the 110-year-old department store, Tighe said the overall concepts would lead to changes in the look and merchandising of J.C. Penney’s home department.
While Tighe said it was too soon to share specifics, some changes are definitely on the way. “Some of the home brands will be edited down,” Tighe said. “We’re also thinking of adding new categories. We’re considering additions in gift, bridal, new qualities and new styles. We (the home-area team) are so energized by the concept.”
Some of the key changes for home will stem from J.C. Penney’s new strategies for pricing and presentation. Johnson and Francis described a new three-pronged approach to pricing with Everyday, which offers consistent pricing for each day; Month-Long Values, which gives shoppers low prices on products they need to buy in that particular month; and Best Price, which offers customers the lowest prices on products on the first and third Fridays of each month. They also presented a new layout for J.C. Penney stores which will put the emphasis on shops throughout the store.
In terms of the pricing strategy, “we’ll follow the playbook Ron described,” Tighe said. “It will help us in home by allowing us to offer great prices every day.”
The shop-oriented layout will bring one major change to the home area by next year, when the Martha Stewart shops are slated to open in J.C. Penney stores. Tighe said there will be more shops to come. “We’ve been scouring the world for shop concepts,” he said. “We envision shops by product category, and we could see shops for international brands, too.” He said he anticipated “no problems” from Macy’s lawsuit against Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, triggered by the company’s agreement for Martha Stewart shops with J.C. Penney.
Tighe also said J.C. Penney’s overall new look will help its relationships with its home vendors. “I see our vendors more involved in the concepts involving product development and layout of the department,” he said. This will in itself bring a new dose of energy to the home area. “The vendor community is dying for us to do well,” Tighe said.