DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – For years, coupons and promotions kept Elsa Miranda coming back to JCPenney’s—today, it was curiosity.
One day after CEO Ron Johnson was ousted, Miranda admits that one reason she visited the Dallas store was to “see if there were any changes, yet.”
Like many customers, Miranda had been unhappy with the company’s new pricing policy which eliminated coupons, sales and promotions in favor of everyday low prices.
“We kind of got away from it when the CEO started all of the new changes and we didn’t really like it and he left, and now, we’ve come back to see if we’re going to like the new one.”
Actually, the newly appointed CEO, Mike Ullmer isn’t new at all. Ullmer led the company for seven years prior to his departure two years ago. Experts say he must act quickly to convince JCPenney’s core customers to come back—without confusing those who approve of the changes.
“I hope that the new, old CEO Mike Ullman can take advantage of what they’ve done and change the vision to something that’s more achievable,” says Ed Fox, a marketing professor at SMU’s Cox School of Business. Fox says a good deal of what Johnson proposed—the ‘store-within-a-store’ concept and updated, remodeled stores– has already been implemented. He suggests that Ullman take a hard look at what has worked, what hasn’t, and change what’s broken.
“I don’t think that anybody feels like the direction they were going to go with the new organization with Ron Johnson was a bad direction. It was just that they couldn’t get there.”
Some critics have called Johnson’s overhaul of the Plano based retailer a disaster, and many customers agree.
“I think the changes have gone too far,” said Anna Quigley. “They’ve changed Penney’s to where it’s not recognizable anymore.”
And while that was clearly the intent, some customers say they like the fresh new look of the stores—but, they’re also looking for bargains.
“I think it’s very chic, it’s very beautiful,” says Miranda, “and once they start offering more coupons and more incentives to come, I’d love to come back to the store.”
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