QUOTE AND NEWS
Motley Fool  Mar 23  Comment 
Department store sales may be poised to continue declining in the years ahead. But that doesn't mean investors should avoid every department store stock.
Benzinga  Mar 21  Comment 
FIS Astec Analytics' released its latest list of the hottest stocks among short sellers, which contains five of the six same names as last week's report. Top Pick: JC Penney Troubled department store J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE: JCP) is the...
Motley Fool  Mar 20  Comment 
J.C. Penney will close a slew of stores in small towns, especially in the Midwest. But it's also downsizing in some competitive markets in the Northeast.
Motley Fool  Mar 14  Comment 
The turnaround has ground to a halt, and the department store's strategy is a long shot.
Motley Fool  Mar 14  Comment 
As one retailer gets smaller, the other has looked to pick up the slack.
Motley Fool  Mar 13  Comment 
These stocks fell even though the market didn't move much. Find out why.
MarketWatch  Mar 13  Comment 
J.C. Penney Co. Inc. said Monday that it is launching J.C. Penney Home Services this month in order to capitalize on the housing market. The retailer is partnering with companies like Samsung Electronics Co. and Trane to test six programs in...




 

J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) is a leading department store retailer of apparel, accessories and home furnishings. They produce their own private brands in addition to selling products from other companies.

The company has faced changing consumer tastes in the past years--consumer traffic is being drawn to Wal-Mart (WMT) and Target (TGT) at the expense of department stores such as J.C. Penney and Macy's Inc. (M). In addition, J.C. Penney relies heavily on private labels[1] Although private label products--in order to appeal to as many customers as possible--are not unique enough to compel fashion-conscious consumers to purchase them, they are still a viable option for customers who do not follow trends. JCP also faces lower profit margins in the due to rising commodity costs which will increase its clothing costs.

Business Overview

The company divides its merchandise into several categories which include: men's, women's and children's apparel, accessories and cosmetics; home furnishings; leisure and recreational equipment; jewelry and watches.[2]


Business Growth

Trends and Forces

Private Brands Not Unique Enough to Differentiate from Cheaper Alternatives

Private label brands are produced exclusively for a particular store. For example, J.C. Penney has a number of private label brands including Arizona Jeans Co. and Stafford.[3] Retailers such as Macy's and J.C. Penney find private labels very attractive because the pieces often have higher margins than branded merchandise from other companies. However, the economic crisis of 2008-2009 has made people more reluctant to spend. When consumers have less money to spend, they will be more inclined to spend it on something that excites them. Private label brands, in an effort to appeal to as many consumers as possible, are less likely to spur a person to buy them when disposable income is already scarce.[4] Also, the proliferation of discount retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target and Kohl's (some with their own exclusive brands) means that consumers can trade down to another store if they can no longer afford prices at J.C. Penney. Private label merchandise, by its nature, is not differentiated enough to keep fashion-conscious consumers purchasing them in lieu of lower-priced alternatives.

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Competition

J.C. Penney's main competition is mid-tier department stores such as Macy's Inc. (M) and Kohl's (KSS).

  • Macy's Inc. (M) has a higher price point than J.C. Penney and sells more exclusive brands. Although both companies produce private labels, they make less of a contribution to Macy's total sales than they do J.C. Penney. [5] [6]
  • Kohl's (KSS) is slightly smaller than J.C. Penney, both in terms of sales and locations Kohl's also operates at a slightly lower price point. Kohl's position as a discount retailer makes it more attractive for recession-stricken consumers who are looking to save money. Although it has fewer locations than J.C. Penney the fact the company sells its goods online means it is not at a large disadvantage to the larger retailer in terms of accessibility.[7]


News

  • On July 27, 2011 marketing chief Mike Boylson retired after 32 years working with JCP and 8 years serving in his former position. This will be first time Ron Johnson, who was appointed chief executive of JCP in November 2010, makes a senior-level appointment.[8]

References

  1. JC Penny 2009 10-k p.22
  2. JCP 2008 Annual Report pg. 2  
  3. JCP 2008 Annual Report pg. 2  
  4. Alexandria Sage. ANALYSIS - Private label eclipsed by brands in US retail slump.
  5. M 2009 Annual Report  
  6. JC Penny 2009 10-k p.22
  7. Discount Retailers Thriving in Recession.
  8. [1]
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