Penneys to bring back famed sales

Posted: January 29, 2013

NEW YORK - J.C. Penney is bringing back sales.

The struggling department store chain this week will begin adding back some of the hundreds of sales it ditched last year in hopes of luring shoppers who were turned off when the discounts disappeared.

Penneys also plans to add price tags or signs for more than half of its merchandise to show customers how much they're saving by shopping at the mid-priced chain - a strategy used by a few other retailers such as home decor chain Crate and Barrel and the company that owns TJ Maxx, HomeGoods and Marshalls. For store-branded items such as Arizona, Penneys will show comparison prices from competitors.

The moves are a departure for Penneys on the eve of the one-year anniversary when it vowed to almost completely get rid of the sales that Americans covet but that cut into a store's profits. The idea was to offer everyday low prices that customers could count on rather than the nearly 600 fleeting discounts, coupons, and sales it once offered.

The bold plan has been closely watched by others in the retail industry, which is notorious for offering deep discounts to draw shoppers. But so far, the experiment has served as a cautionary tale of how difficult it is to change shoppers' habits.

CEO Ron Johnson, who rolled out the pricing plan shortly after taking the top job in November 2011, said last week that the latest moves are not a "deviation" from his strategy but rather an "evolution."

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