J.C. Penney is pulling the plug on major appliances and limiting the furniture availability to further its focus on fashion and soft home furnishings.
Furniture will only be available at jcp.com and select Puerto Rico stores, though mattresses will still be sold at 450 stores and on jcp.com.
“While configurations vary by store, we are finalizing new layout options, including the reduction of store space previously dedicated to appliance and furniture showrooms to maximize efficiencies, reduce inventory and create an enhanced shopping experience that inspires repeat shopping trips,” J.C. Penney said in a statement.
Customers can purchase major appliances in stores and online through Feb. 28 and receive free basic delivery and installation on new model purchases over $299. All protection plans and manufacturer’s warranty agreements will remain in effect for the applicable warranty period.
Changes to the retailer’s selling floors, which for years have yielded anemic sales results, are being orchestrated by chief executive officer Jill Soltau, who joined the Plano, Tex.-based retailer last October. She succeeded Marvin Ellison, currently ceo of Lowe’s, whose idea it was to bring back big appliances. They had been absent from J.C. Penney since the late Eighties.
The appliances looked good but did little for the retailer’s bottom line since major appliances carry narrow margins. They were rolled out into several hundred stores. Further complicating the matter, J.C. Penney showroomed the products, rather than actually buying them and keeping them in stock. That meant the store couldn’t deliver appliances as fast as competitors.
With Wednesday’s disclosure, Soltau seems to be keeping her promise to take quick action to turn around business.