- JCPenney is quitting the home appliance business.
- In recent visits to three JCPenney stores, I spotted broken appliances on display, and I didn’t see any customers browsing the products.
The decision may come as a surprise to some, since it was less than three years ago that the company brought appliances back to its stores, following a 33-year hiatus.
But after visiting three JCPenney stores in Virginia within the last week, I’m not surprised to see the company giving up on selling ovens, washing machines, and refrigerators.
I found a giant sign outside one JCPenney store that read “NOW SELLING APPLIANCES.”
A second sign also prominently advertised appliances several yards from the entrance. These ads could be an indication that many customers remain unaware that JCPenney is selling appliances, several years after it entered the business.
Inside one store, the appliance section was clean, well-lit, and organised.
But there were no shoppers in sight.
The layout of the appliances in the two other stores was confusing. Some items were grouped together, while others, like this oven, seemed to serve the sole purpose of filling empty space.
In one store, refrigerators and ovens were scattered in the middle of a walkway.
Some of the appliances, like this oven, looked dirty and beat-up.
Another oven inexplicably displayed a stuffed animal. This could be a sign that employees may not have walked past this area in a while.
Some attempts to improve merchandising just made things look worse.
One store appeared to be using its appliance section for storage.
But the biggest sign that pointed to trouble within JCPenney’s appliance business during these visits was the fact that I didn’t see any customers browsing the products.
Given the lack of foot traffic, it makes sense for JCPenney to cut its losses in this area and focus on its core products: apparel, accessories, and soft home furnishings like bedding. “Optimising the allocation of store space will enable us to prioritise and focus on the company’s legacy strengths,” JCPenney said in a statement on the change.
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