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Plano’s JCPenney Faces Uncertain Future

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PLANO (CBS 11 NEWS) - Problems continue to mount for Plano-based JCPenney. The company’s stock dropped 13 percent during trading on Monday. This comes just days after the retailer lost $123 million last quarter. And now, JCPenney is making some interesting moves when it comes to Black Friday.

Customers used to get a holiday globe with a $10 coupon. This year, they will be handed a button, like a campaign button, with a holiday decoration on it. They will turn the button over, look for a promo code, go online and then win anything from a gift cards to a vacation. Call it a little incentive to get people in the door.

Melanie Miller was already in JCPenney looking for warm coats for her kids this chilly day. “I have shopped at Penneys for years,” she said. The retailer is looking to lure her back on Black Friday.

Karen Alexander helps manage one of the stores in Hurst. “JCP is offering sales that day because we know, traditionally, it’s something the customers have looked for,” she said.

What customers have been getting, with a new sales pitch, is what the company calls “every day low prices.”

Mike Davis, a professor with SMU’s Cox School of Business said, “They want to go more toward this every day pricing kind of boutique image of their stores, which is an interesting idea, but they haven’t proved yet that they can make it work.”

Financial experts said that customers who have been used to JCPenney’s annual sales and coupons have stayed away. “Penneys was expected to do bad when they reported. They even did worse. It was not good,” Davis said. JCPenney revenue shrunk 27 percent in the third quarter.

Ben Winsett, a 20-something shopping for jeans, said, “It’s kind of surprising, because I would have thought what they offer and the price they offer it at, you would have better results right now.”

But many still think of JCPenney as an “old fashioned department store.” In the ever changing world of retail, experts said, they will have to change to fit in. Mike Davis said, “They’re going to have to figure out what kind of store they’re going to be. What are they going to sell? What’s their pricing strategy going to be? And who are their customers? If they can figure that out, they can still do really well.”

JCPenney stores in North Texas will be open on Black Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. but they will not be open on Thanksgiving Day.

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