The JC Penney Debacle: Consumers Win (Craig Douglass On Consumers)

by Craig Douglass  on Monday, Jun. 3, 2013 12:00 am  

Mistakes were made at J.C. Penney. What is important to realize, however, is the motive driving the flawed corporate strategy. It seems to us it was company-driven, rather than customer-driven.

Hundreds of annual sales require a great deal of internal staffing to make price changes. It also plays havoc with budgets, margins and sales forecasting. So why not change to a less intensive, more operationally efficient and predictable pricing strategy. Why not? Because that’s not what the department store customer wants. Research indicates customers want to be loyal. They want to be rewarded for that loyalty, to be recognized and courted. The markdown, coupled with well-known, quality brands — house brands and marketplace brands — is that reward.

Fair and square pricing? The consumer determines what’s fair, not the store. With that realization, we’ve come full circle on the J.C. Penney saga. And the consumer wins again!

Craig Douglass is a Little Rock advertising agency owner and marketing and research consultant. He is president of Craig Douglass Communications Inc. Email him at



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