J. C. Penney: part of America’s history
Last Updated on August 13, 2018
Back in the frontier days of 1902, James Cash Penney and two partners opened the Golden Rule dry goods store in the tiny town of Kemmerer, Wyoming. That was the beginning of the J.C. Penney success story.
In 1913, with 34 stores in the American west, the J.C. Penney company was incorporated and the
following year, the company’s headquarters moved to New York City. By 1929 it had increased the number of its stores to 1,392.
Penney’s Golden Rule
Penney retired in 1946, but his old-fashioned and demanding Golden Rule policies remained in force for another decade. For example, any employee who was known to use tobacco or liquor, even in the privacy of his or her own home, would be fired.
In his usual conservative manner, Penney would not allow his customers to add to their debt by buying from his store on credit, it was cash only. However, in 1958 J.C. Penney’s finally introduced store credit cards.
The stores’ offerings, which at that time feature apparel and notions, began to include a broader range of products, including home decor and house ware items. This allowed J.C. Penney to compete directly with other national department stores, such as Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Montgomery Ward & Co.
Today’s modern J.C. Penney company has a broad range of both domestic and foreign suppliers, about 2,700 in all. While the company’s home office is in Plano, Texas, it has buying and selling quality assurance offices around the world.
In 1994, jcp.com, J.C. Penney’s online shopping site, was introduced to the world as part of the company’s multichannel retail plan. When Sears closed its catalogue business in 1993, J.C. Penney became the country’s largest catalogue retailer.
In 2006, J.C. Penney entered into a partnership with Sephora a cosmetics chain. Sephora outlets were opened inside select J.C. Penney stores.
Enter Ralph Lauren
American fashion designer, Ralph Lauren, worked with J.C. Penney in 2008 to launch the American Living Brand of clothing, accessories and home decor.
- J.C. Penny sells clothing, cosmetics, electronics, footware, furniture, housewares, jewelry and appliances
- Its revenue is $12,506 billion (2017)
- Its operating income $116 million (2017)
- It has 98,000 employees (2017)
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