How JC Penney Is Copying Target's New Marketing Strategy

JC PenneyA prototype Levi’s shop inside a JC Penney.

Photo: JC Penney

Back in August, after an awful first half of the year, J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson described to Wall Street analysts how he was going to turn the struggling discount store chain around. The centrepiece of his plan was to turn each JCP into a faux main street featuring differently branded shops, such as Levi’s, Izod and Liz Claiborne. (Here’s a photo of a prototype, at right.)By amazing coincidence, Target’s new ad campaign for the fall is titled, “Introducing The Shops at Target.” The commercial features shoppers strolling down an ersatz main street visiting differently branded shops, such as Kirna Zabete, Patch NYC, and Odin.

Sounds familiar, right?

Turns out that Target began touting its “shops at …” concept way back in January 2012. Shortly afterward, Johnson came up with the same idea.

JC Penney is following Target, not the other way around. In August 2012, JCP’s Johnson told investors:

Now, when we’re done that store will have a 100 unique shops and there will be single-brand shops, there will be classification shops, but it will feel like just when you walk through the shopping mall, there are a variety of [places] from which to buy. They will be organised in a way that’s very straightforward. We’ll have men’s areas, women’s areas, kid’s areas and home, kind of the traditional categories that people come [in for].

The shops will be of varying sizes. [They] will be as small as 500 square feet and as large as 1,400 square feet or more.

Target’s shops are up and running. JCP’s aren’t due to be completed until fall 2013.

Here’s the new Target campaign:


  • The 10 Weirdest Things JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson Told Wall Street Last Week

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.