No Coupons, No Customers: Women Are Running From Coupon-Free J.C. Penney


Check out this interesting article from DailyFinance:

We’re nearly a year into Ron Johnson’s tenure as CEO of J.C. Penney (JCP), and the results aren’t encouraging. Its share price has fallen more than 10% under the former Apple (AAPL) and Target (TGT) executive, and now, a new report suggests that female shoppers are fleeing the retailer in droves.

BIGinsight, a consumer research firm, recently released the latest iteration of its Consumer Equity Index, which identifies how different retailers are viewed by various market segments. In this case, they polled more than 9,000 women for their opinions about which stores they prefer when it comes to clothes shopping.

Of the top 10 apparel retailers, nine either held steady or gained in market share among women between September 2011 and September 2012. Only J.C. Penney lost ground during that period — which more or less coincides with Johnson’s first year in charge. During that 12-month span, the number of women identifying J.C. Penney as their favorite clothing store dropped more than 13%.

Pam Goodfellow, consumer insights director for BIGinsight, says that this translates to about 1.3 million women ditching J.C. Penney as their favorite shopping destination. While Penney’s still ranks third in the category behind Walmart (WMT) and Kohl’s (KSS), she says there’s little doubt that it will soon be passed by Macy’s (M) for the bronze medal in the category.

“I think what’s hurt J.C. Penney is that they’ve taken away these deals and coupons,” says Goodfellow, referring to Johnson’s new — and widely pilloried – “fair and square” pricing strategy. “Shoppers are still very much gravitating toward promos and deals … When you’re receiving Macy’s coupons in the mail, you have more incentive to head over there.”

Johnson has shown signs of backtracking recently: Penney’s offered a $10 coupon late last week. The company was quick to insist that it wasn’t a coupon but a gift, and thus didn’t constitute a reversal in policy, but Goodfellow joins other industry observers in opining that J.C. Penney should indeed reverse its pricing and sales strategy before it’s too late.

“Shoppers have been educated to expect those gimmicks and give them a reason to head out to the mall,” she says. “Given the type of retailer [J.C. Penney is], these promos are what motivate shoppers.”

  • Angela Manor

    I’m like coupons but not the time it takes to find them. JCPenneey have a promotion now where you can get a gift card free. Check it out.

  • Katie

    I like Penney’s not having coupons actually.  It gives me more of an incentive to go there first for clothing because I know they will be reasonably priced on most items for work.

  • CleoBarker

    Kohls is the best, Their sales are insane and they always have exactly what I need in the styles and brands I want. Plus they give you money back during certain times of year which I always use for shopping round 2.

  • BD

    I like the no coupons and no sales. Don’t have to wait to buy or waste time searching for coupons. I think they should continue with this strategy. It’ll catch on eventually.

  • Val

    I am not a fan of Kohls- everything is always “on sale” but the discounts aren’t that great because the clothing price is jacked up. Why not just price it lower in the first place?

  • Sjkrake

    I shop at JCPenney more than I ever did because of the no sales strategy. I hated wondering if I was getting the best price or if the next big sale would be a lower price. I don’t have time to mess around with those games. I can’t believe anyone would like it better the old way; they are a marketer and advertiser’s dream if they do…

  • Just Plain Me

    Personally I am tired of every week everywhere being the “biggest sale of the season”. With that connotation there must be 52 seasons in a year because every week is the biggest sale. I like JCP for their simple pricing policy. I don’t have to rush in that minute to get an item; the price is good for the whole month. Besides, I know in retail that one week something is on sale for 40% off, the next week it’s 25% off, then it might go to 30% off, it never stays the same and I feel ripped off.

    Congrats to you JCP.

  • momof4girls

    I personally like the changes JCP have made to it’s store.  Was never a shopper prior because I felt the merchandise was cheapened by all the discounts and coupons.  Plus I never carried any of the coupons to even consider shopping at JCP.  The styles of clothing for working mom’s is much better and have gotten many compliments.  Use to spend $75 -$100 on a single garment and now spend 1/2 of that for a wonderful outfit. 

  • alex252

    J.C penny has a great sales and products, i think they should focus more on providing direct bargains on products that customers are looking for instead of wasting their time on distributing coupons.