JC Penney brings back fake prices

“In early 2012, JC Penney promised the end of ‘fake prices’ — ones that were inflated just so that shoppers could be tricked into thinking the inevitable discounts represented amazing deals,” Brad Tuttle reports for TIME Magazine. “Well, it’s already time to welcome back discounts and inflated prices alike.”

“Among other reasons, JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson lost his job recently because customers seemed to hate the no-coupons, no-discounting “fair and square” pricing that was a core part of the retailer’s dramatic 2012 makeover,” Tuttle reports. “In a new ad, JC Penney is apologizing for the changes made under Johnson. ‘It’s no secret. Recently, JC Penney changed,’ the ad’s voice-over states. ‘Some changes you liked and some you didn’t, but what matters from mistakes is what we learn. We learned a very simple thing, to listen to you.'”

Tuttle reports, “JC Penney’s changes of late aren’t limited to an uptick in sales and coupons. As Reuters reported in late March, even before Johnson was fired, the retailer had quietly started raising its ‘everyday’ prices—mainly so that stores could regularly put them on sale and hope that more shoppers bite. ‘Under the strategy, an Arizona crewneck T-shirt that had an ‘everyday’ price of $5 now has a $6 pricetag to allow Penney more room to offer a markdown and arrive at the same price,’ the article explained.

Read more: http://business.time.com/2013/05/02/jc-penney-reintroduces-fake-prices-and-lots-of-coupons-too-of-course/#ixzz2SXGH7fND

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Is lying to your customers really a winning strategy?

There’s a sucker born every minute. – David Hannum

Regardless, this is likely our last JC Penney article — to the chagrin of retail department store afficiandos the world over, we’re sure — unless and until JCP goes tits up, in which case we’ll take a moment to remind those who destroyed what’s left of it that they should have stuck with Johnson and given him time to execute his plan instead of panicking and yanking out the plug way too early.

Related articles:
Three ex-Apple execs exit JC Penney following Ron Johnson ouster – April 11, 2013
Yoshikami: The Ron Johnson disaster at JC Penney – April 9, 2013
Ron Johnson: Apple Stores vs. J.C. Penney – April 9, 2013
Will Apple bring Ron Johnson back? – April 8, 2013
Ron Johnson out as JC Penney CEO, says source – April 8, 2013
Ron Johnson starting to look a lot more maniacal than brilliant – March 8, 2013
If JC Penney fires CEO Ron Johnson, analyst predicts bankruptcy – March 8, 2013
J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson cuts 2,200 more jobs as sales plunge – March 8, 2013
J.C. Penney posts large loss as sales sink further – February 27, 2013
JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson capitulates, brings back sales – January 28, 2013
Apple retail’s Ron Johnson and John Browett have proved the Peter Principle is alive and well – November 13, 2012
CEO Ron Johnson switches J.C. Penney to two-tier pricing with price-match guarantee – July 26, 2012
Why is Ron Johnson’s retail strategy for J.C. Penney failing? – June 26, 2012
J.C Penney’s stock tumbles after key exec’s abrupt exit – June 19, 2012
J.C. Penney reports loss and plummeting sales in 1Q – May 15, 2012
Why Ron Johnson left Apple to head JC Penney – April 30, 2012
J.C. Penney lures another executive from Apple – April 26, 2012
Steve Jobs’ ex-lieutenant Ron Johnson adds $1.5 billion to J.C. Penney in two days – January 30, 2012
J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson: What I learned building the Apple Store – November 21, 2011
New J.C. Penney CEO Johnson hiring former Apple co-workers – November 9, 2011
Why Apple’s retail genius Ron Johnson is paying for the privilege of running J.C. Penney – June 15, 2011
Apple’s retail store chief Johnson off to J.C. Penney; expected to become CEO within months – June 14, 2011


  1. From what I could tell, Ron Johnson was the one doing the lying. His low prices were 30% to 50 % higher than they had been under the previous regime.

  2. J C Penney is primarily a clothing retailer these days. Sales are a way of life for clothing retailers – you have to clear stock at the end of the season, or it will end up in a landfill somewhere. My wife shopped there regularly for clothing (both kids and adult) and was a “mid-line” shopper – she would look at the sale racks, but would buy their “normal” price stuff as needed. Having multiple prices for the same goods allows a seller to maximize revenue without hurting volume – those consumers who were very price sensitive could jump through hoops to save some money, while more upscale customers could pay full price (which was still cheaper than any of the other big clothing stores like Macy’s or Nordstrom). Besides getting rid of sales, the makeover greatly reduced the selection of products – instead of a couple aisles of small electrics, there is now a “Bodum boutique” -150 sq ft of yuppie coffee makers. Maybe Penneys was doomed anyway, but reducing selection while increasing effective prices has gutted the place. In the meantime, Macy’s has a very good but pricey selection that they are discounting like mad…

  3. ALL companies price this way….and I mean ALL companies, especially retail companies!!!

    This is NOTHING new, it has been going on for DECADES!!


    It is especially true of “discount” retailers between November and the end of December.
    Retailers like WalMart will hike up prices around August through November at least 50% or MORE……then around “Black Friday” they will “discount” items heavily, so you think you are getting a good deal, when in fact, you are paying FULL standard retail price!!

    I have been in retail for many years, and this has been going on since retail business began.


    The ONLY TRUE discounts you get is from the clearance sections after a season is over with. Out of date or out of season items will be sold at a real discount, in order to get them out of stock and off the floor, so regular priced stock can be placed out on the floor.

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