JCPenney has been making a ton of changes to boost sales.
The retailer has added Sephora departments to dozens of its stores and started selling appliances this year after a 33-year hiatus, among other changes.
Now, the chain is investing in faster customer service.
The company will be replacing one third of its registers to speed up the checkout process, executives said on a conference call Friday.
The changes JCPenney is making seem to be working: same-store sales grew 2.2% in the second quarter, and net losses narrowed by $48 million.
“The direction of the numbers and the continued profit progress give us confidence JCP, while still a little sickly, is now a retailer returning to full health,” said Håkon Helgesen, retail analyst at Conlumino. “That it is recovering in a market that remains pressured and where rivals are still seeking out responsive strategies is a testament to the sound management of Marvin Ellison and his team.”
The company is expecting to grow even faster going forward. It’s estimating same-store sales growth to be in the range of 3% to 4% for the full year.
JCPenney executives said the retailer is picking up a lot of customers who used to shop at Sears.
Sears has been closing hundreds of stores over the last several years. The most recent round of closings in late July shuttered nearly 80 stores
JCPenney has benefited from the Sears closures in mall locations that it shares with those stores.
“We were in the best position to pick up some of those” customers, JCPenney CEO Marvin Ellison said on the call.
Going forward, as JCPenney grows its appliances business, it’s expecting to steal even more Sears customers. Sears has been losing market share in home appliances, a category where it has historically been a strong player.
“As Sears continues to redesign its business model… we believe there will be appliance market share up for grabs,” Ellison said.
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