JCPenney is discontinuing sales of major appliances on Feb. 28, and will make furniture available only via its e-Commerce site and at select Puerto Rico stores.
The retailer resumed selling home appliances in 2016 for the first time since 1983 under former CEO Marvin Ellison, who sought to take advantage of the ongoing implosion of Sears. JCPenney introduced appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines and dryers to reduce its heavy reliance on apparel, betting on the idea that these big-ticket items would lift margins and sales more quickly than general merchandise.
But Ellison’s exit to head Lowe’s last year led JCPenney to change plans. While it’s likely that the decline and eventual bankruptcy of Sears sent prospective appliance buyers to other retailers, apparently JCPenney hasn’t been one of them. Former Sears shoppers are instead flocking to home improvement retailers such as Lowe’s and The Home Depot.
Poor performance during the 2018 holiday season certainly didn’t help matters; the department store saw comparable sales fall 3.5% in the November and December months, behind Macy’s and Kohl’s comparable sales growth of 1.1% and 1.2%, respectively.
As part of the new store layout, JCPenney seeks to inspire repeat shopping trips by:
- Reducing store space previously dedicated to appliance and furniture showrooms to maximize efficiencies; and
- Reducing inventory.
The shift also is designed to bring the department store back to the company’s legacy strengths in apparel and soft home furnishings, which represent higher-margin opportunities for JCPenney.
Customers can still receive free basic delivery and installation on new model appliance purchases over $299 through Feb. 28. All protection plans and manufacturer’s warranty agreements will remain in effect for the applicable warranty period. Although furniture is being moved online, mattresses will still be available in more than 450 stores.
Further information related to the appliance discontinuation will be available on Feb. 28 when the company reports its Q4 and fiscal 2018 results.