JCPenney has made job cuts throughout the company — from corporate to middle management to salespeople — to reduce costs, but there’s one department at JCPenney where the workers are particularly worried about being fired.It’s the shoe department. Just as the catalogue department got creamed, it appears that the standalone shoe sections are next to go.
“All shoes will be stacked out with there respective clothing, men’s shoes with men’s clothes, kids with kids, in a ‘self-serve’ kind of way,” a shoe sales associate in Florida tells us. “I do believe in the next month or so there will be no shoe department at all.”
“We are continuing with our strategy to merchandise our entire store with up to 100 shops and shoes will be part of this shop strategy,” says JCPenney spokesperson Kate Coultas. “Our team members will be a key part of our new shopping experience.”
We also spoke with current and former JCPenney employees about what’s been going on in the stores (we’ve withheld their names for their protection). They say that the culling of associate jobs as been ongoing.
“So far, the shoe department has been decimated,” a furniture associate in California confirms to us. The new 100 shops concept “will eliminate the need for shoe specialists and a separate department,” she says.
A former shoe sales associate confirms to us that before she was fired in May, she found out that the shoe department was to be “dismantled,” though no timeframe was given.
Another former employee shares with us the details about how she got laid off from a women’s shoe department in a California store. Her bosses cut her weekly hours from 30 to 20, eliminated her commission as part of a company-wide move, slashed her hours a second time, and four days later, she was fired.
Here’s her description — infused with a large amount of bitterness — of how that went down:
“The ‘Store Leader’ about fifteen minutes ago came down to Women’s Shoes, brought me up to the penthouse office and counted out my last pay-out himself, in cash, on his desk right in front of me. No explanation, no nothing.
I could tell he didn’t like this decision to let me go, not one little bit. I did a lot for his sales and customer service numbers in 2 years, won awards, brought positive corporate attention to his store, yadda yadda yadda.
It means nothing when you can keep the employee for $8.24 and kick the one for $11.12 to the curb, even though my productivity metrics blew hers off the charts, but really, who’s counting?”
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