J.C. Penney is boosting its jewelry list prices as much as 40 percent to give the impression of greater markdowns, according to a report in the New York Post.
“The idea: to prop up margins for splashy Valentine’s Day discounts of 40 to 60 percent on engagement rings, pendants, and ear studs—up dramatically from the 20 to 30 percent discounts that were typical last year during the holidays,” says reporter James Covert.
The newspaper posted a number of examples on its site, including a ring now priced at $1,999.98 that it claims was priced at $1,245, discounted to $996, in December. It also showed a blue topaz piece that was once listed at $185, marked down to $148. Now its original price is listed as $266.65, the newspaper said.
Penney’s pricing policies have also come under fire from the Today Show, which called some of its markdowns “misleading” in an exposé last July.
J.C. Penney did not return a request for comment by press time.
Former Penney CEO Ron Johnson eliminated discounts and instituted everyday pricing. When this policy resulted in a massive drop in sales, Johnson’s successor, Myron Ullman, brought back promotions.