JCPenney is planning a comeback as the retailer tests out new and innovative ideas at a Texas location as its chief executive tries to revive the struggling business.
The company saw its revenue fall to $12 billion in the fiscal year that ended in February, down from almost $20 billion in 2007. In fact, JCPenney has lost money each year since 2012.
“In recent years, we veered away from knowing and delivering what customers want,” Chief Executive Jill Soltau said in an interview. "We won’t make that mistake going forward."
In addition to getting rid of excess goods and giving up on less profitable categories, Soltau has also decided to group products by lifestyle in 10 percent of its stores. But the biggest change will happen in its location in Hurst, Texas, which will determine whether the retailer rolls out these new ideas to the store's full 850 stores. “What we get out of this store will ultimately fuel a chain refresh,” she said.
The Hurst store, which is located near JCPenney’s headquarters in Plano, boasts wide aisles and bright lighting, along with a slew of interactive experiences, such as cooking gadget demonstrations and beauty workshops. A large room in the activewear section will host yoga and fitness classes, while the clubhouse will feature movies and arts and crafts for kids. There is also a cafe, 11 lounges, an InStyle-branded hair salon, a barber shop and a concierge to help shoppers with a number of services. In addition, there will be stylists on-site, as well as sitting rooms with interactive mirrors where shoppers can order different items or sizes that will be delivered to them by sales staff.
“We need to be more than just a department store in a mall by delivering an experience,” Soltau said.