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J.C. Penney Now Touting Price Comparisons

By Rob Bates, Senior Editor
Posted on February 1, 2013
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J.C. Penney—after a year of falling sales due to its no-coupon, no-sale policy—has now hit on a new strategy: showing how its prices compare to those of its competitors.

“Learnings from our first year of transformation showed that we needed to do a better job at communicating our great everyday value to our customers,” says spokeswoman Kate Coultas. “We will now be providing our customers a reference to compare to our everyday price.”

For example, items will be compared to the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). While a New York Post article charged that J.C. Penney has asked manufacturers to provide inflated prices, Coultas says “each manufacturer independently establishes their suggested retail price. We are not involved in setting the MSRP price.”

The company will also spotlight prices “elsewhere”—which Coultas describes as what competitors charge for “identical or materially similar items.” 

And for jewelry, J.C. Penney will spotlight the “appraised value,” as provided by the appraisals from the International Gemological Institute.

As JCK reported in December, the store is clearly bringing back promotions and price-cutting back into its mix. For example, the home page of the jewelry section now broadcasts “20 percent off fine jewelry.”

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