J.C. Penney is getting back into the major appliance business as the department store retailer will debut an assortment of white goods in 22 pilot stores beginning February 1.
According to the company, J.C. Penney’s decision to test major appliances is supported by consumer research and is one of several strategic initiatives aimed at improving its home department sales productivity.
“Our research shows that the female consumer is the key decision maker in the appliance purchase process. Recognizing that more than 70% of our shoppers are women, we’re going to improve the way customers shop for appliances by building an emotional connection with the female shopper who already trusts J.C. Penney to furnish her home and wardrobe,” said Marvin Ellison, chief executive officer for J.C. Penney.
Launching in San Antonio, San Diego and Tampa, Florida area stores, each pilot location will feature 90 to 150 appliance models in a dedicated showroom staffed by trained and knowledgeable associates. The selection will include kitchen and laundry appliances in a range of pricepoints from GE, Hotpoint, LG and Samsung. To increase its shopping appeal among women, appliances will be strategically adjacent to other popular home categories with select display models styled in inspiring lifestyle vignettes to help customers visualize how it could look in their homes, company officials said.
While J.C. Penney has not sold major appliances for more than 30 years, officials with the retailer said the company decided to re-enter the appliance business after customer data showed that the vast majority of its shoppers own a home and are frequently searching for major appliance options on jcp.com. The company said it also conducted extensive third-party consumer research, which revealed that the majority of those surveyed thought it made sense for J.C. Penney to sell major appliances. Respondents saw it as a natural extension of the company’s home business, and indicated that the availability of appliances would entice them to visit J.C. Penney more often.
“We plan to continually listen to our customers’ feedback and learn from our pilot operations over the next few months,” Ellison added. “Although our sales results in our home business are much improved, it still remains one of the least productive areas in the store. The introduction of major appliances will help us continue to significantly improve sales and gross profit per square foot in our home department.”