As JCPenney has shifted strategies and experienced three different chief executives in about seven years, the retailer is now focusing on reaching moms. It had previously tried to reach millennials, the Wall Street Journal reported.
With the new effort, the retailer held a “Shark Tank” event at its corporate offices, giving executives the opportunity to pitch ideas on how to target this demographic. One idea that came to light was to open the stores one hour early for loyal customers, allowing them a chance to buy Liz Claiborne items before the rest of the public.
JCPenney’s effort comes as the retailer has become irrelevant, according to some customers. “People don’t really talk about JCPenney anymore,” one customer told the WSJ. After JCPenney reduced promotions under former chief executive Ron Johnson, customers turned to Macy’s instead.
Former CEO Marvin R. Ellison left JCPenney after instating a turnaround program at the company, and took up the helm as chief executive at Lowe’s. JCPenney cut 230 positions in March, and it announced the same month that its executive vice president of omnichannel business, Mike Amend, was leaving the firm.
Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, told CNBC, “The turnaround program that Ellison put in place at JCPenney has partly delivered, but is still far from complete. There is now a question mark over how this plan will proceed and, indeed, whether JCPenney will remain on the same trajectory.”
The departure came less than four years after Ellison, then a veteran senior executive at Home Depot, was named the new CEO for JCPenney. That hire came as the retailer was seeking to recover from $3 billion in losses over a three-and-a-half year period. At the time, Ellison departed from Home Depot replacing then-CEO Mike Ullman.