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J. C. PENNEY COMPANY

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J. C. PENNEY COMPANY. James Cash Penney began his career in retail management when he opened The Golden Rule store, a partnership with Guy Johnson and Thomas Callahan, on April 14, 1902 in Kemmerer, Wyoming. He participated in the creation of two more stores, and when Callahan and Johnson dissolved their partnership in 1907 he purchased full interest in all three locations. By 1912, Penney had 34 stores in the Rocky Mountain States. In 1913, all stores were consolidated under the new name, J. C. Penney Company. By 1917, the company operated 175 stores in 22 states in the United States.

By 1941, J.C. Penney operated 1,600 stores in all 48 contiguous states.

In 1956, J. C. Penney started national advertising with a series of advertisements in Life magazine. J. C. Penney credit cards were issued and accepted at its stores for the first time in 1959. In 1962, J. C. Penney entered discount merchandising with the acquisition of General Merchandise Company. In 1963, J. C. Penney issued its first catalog. The company operated in-store catalog desks in eight states.

The company dedicated its first full-line, shopping center department store in 1961 at Black Horse Pike Center, in Audubon, New Jersey.

In 1969, the company acquired Thrift Drug, a chain of drugstores headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It also acquired Supermarkets Interstate, an Omaha-based food retailer which operated leased departments in J. C. Penney stores, The Treasury stores, and Thrift Drug stores.

In 1971, the company's revenues reached $5 billion for the first time and catalog business made a profit for the first time. JC Penney reached its peak number of stores in 1973, with 2,053 stores, 300 of which were full-line establishments.

In 1984, J. C. Penney acquired the First National Bank of Harrington, Delaware and renamed it JCPenney National Bank. With the bank the company became able to issue its own MasterCard and Visa cards. The company also began accepting American Express cards.

In 1998, JCPenney launched its third channel for shopping convenience. Its Internet store has grown into one of the largest apparel and home furnishings retail sites on the Internet. In early 1999, JCPenney went from a middle-scale chain to an up-scale chain. In 2003, the company opened three off-the-mall stores in strip centers. These stores were located in Texas, Minnesota, and Indiana.

Beginning in 2007 the store slogan changed from "It's All Inside" to "Every Day Matters"; the new slogan and associated ad campaign was launched in television commercials during the 79th Academy Awards in late February 2007.

In November 2007, the company launched a new public website, JCPenneyBrands.com, which covered the company's private and exclusive brands, and their branding strategy, with a preview of an upcoming product line. In February 2008, the company launched the "American Living" brand, as developed by Ralph Lauren, across several product lines, including Men's, Women's, and Children's Apparel and Shoes, Intimate Apparel, and Home. The launch, which was accompanied by an ad campaign during the 2008 Academy Awards, was the company's largest private brand launch. American Living for infant apparel was launched in July 2008. In the summer of 2008, J. C. Penney also added a new brand to its home collection, "Linden Street." The Linden Street brand features a contemporary lifestyle collection of furniture, domestics, and home decor. Linden Street is sold exclusively in JCPenney stores and through their website. Other new exclusive brands for junior's and young men's were launched in the summer of 2008, including Le Tigre, Decree, and Fabulosity, a junior line of clothing by Kimora Lee Simmons.

In July 2009, new additions were made to the JCPenney young men's department, including an expansion of their private brand Decree (previously exclusively a juniors clothing line) and the introduction of more skate/surf-oriented clothing, including Rusty, RS by Ryan Sheckler, and 3rd Rail. In September 2010, JCPenney had joined Facebook to help promote their "Care, Share, Win" campaign. JCPenney donated over $100 million to after school care. Fans of JCPenney on Facebook help decide which school will receive the next million dollars.

In 2009, JCPenney reached an agreement with Seattle's Best Coffee to feature full-service cafes within leased departments inside JCPenney stores across the country.

On January 24, 2011, JCPenney announced it would leave the catalog business and close all 19 of its catalog outlet stores. An additional seven stores, two call center facilities, and one customer decorating facility would also be closed.

On December 7, 2011, JCPenney announced the acquisition of 16.6 percent of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia stock. JCPenney planned to put "mini-Martha Stewart shops" in many of its stores in 2013, as well as starting a web site together.

On February 1, 2012, JCPenney began a new pricing method, with "Every Day" prices on most days reflecting what used to be sale prices, "Monthly Value" for certain items every month in place of sales, and "Best Price" two Fridays each month, tied to paydays. Prices would also not end in 9. The changes in the stores include a focus on the mini-stores such as those for Martha Stewart products. Ellen DeGeneres, a former JCPenney employee, became the chain's spokesperson in a tour and advertising campaign in Spring 2012.

Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
The 1923 Dubuque City Directory listed 978-98 Main.

The 1929 through 1945 Dubuque City Directory listed 855-61 Main. In 1931 an announcement was made that a Bargain Annex would be opened at 10th and Main where the J. C. Penney Company had been located before its relocation. The Annex would carry lower priced items from the store as well as several new lines including "aluminumware," enamelware, woodenware, and electrical supplies. (1)

The 1957 through 1980 Dubuque City Directory listed 855 Main when it was listed as a department store.

The 1985 through 2014 Dubuque City Directory listed KENNEDY MALL.

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Source:

1. "Penney Firm to Open Second Dubuque Store," Telegraph-Herald and Times-Journal, Mar. 15, 1931

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