J.C. Penney Says No Discounting—Except for Jewelry (UPDATED)

This was recently brought to my attention: So in turns out that even though J.C. Penney has dramatically turned its back on nonstop sales and discounts, one category will continue to be on sale. And guess what, my friends, of all the categories in the whole store, that category is. From The Dallas Morning News

“Penney price tags won’t end in 99 cents anymore. The percent-off signs above the display racks will be gone. Only jewelry will continue to be offered at percent-off discounts.”

This may be because it is hard to standarize jewelry pricing, given fluctuating material prices. But perhaps jewelry consumers have gotten so used to percentage-off discounts that even the now “reformed” J.C. Penney can’t fight that trend.

UPDATE: J.C. Penney spokesman Tim Lyons responds this is just a “short-term approach,” and that eventually jewelry, too, will transition to the new pricing strategy.

I should note that CEO Ron Johnson addressed jewelry in J.C. Penney’s recent conference call, but seemed to indicate that it also may be handled differently from a pricing perspective:

We had struggled during the first three weeks [in February] in home and fine jewelry. This is in part due to the lack of catalogues that we deployed last year, but it is also clear we need to be more—to more strongly communicate our value strategy in these historically promotional categories. We are working to strengthen our in-store assigning and make other adjustments to better communicate the value we offer. We’ll also be dedicating more advertising to fine jewelry beginning in April.

JCK News Director