Poor Ron Johnson. He became J.C. Penney’s CEO a little over a year ago and promised to get rid of the admittedly “fake prices” that the company slapped on goods to make their many sales seem more deeply discounted than they really were. The public didn’t take well to his elimination of sales and coupons, and the company lost millions.
In April 2013, Ron Johnson was ousted, and the company is now apologizing to customers in a commercial acknowledging that they made mistakes. They are asking customers to “come back to J.C. Penney… we heard you.”
How are they going to get customers back in the door? They are probably going to reintroduce deep discounting. To start running 50% off sales again, however, they will first have to raise their regular prices to an artificially high level. To see if this was happening, Mouse Print* undertook a little spotcheck of their prices. Here are five examples of the regular everyday prices the company charged during Ron Johnson’s tenure, and how they have now been jacked up as a possible prelude to being offered “on sale” again.
*MOUSE PRINT: Example 1
*MOUSE PRINT: Example 2
*MOUSE PRINT: Example 3
*MOUSE PRINT: Example 4
*MOUSE PRINT: Example 5
In some of the cases above, the new “sale” price is already in effect showing seemingly significant savings, but it is virtually the same as the previous everyday regular price. In other cases, the item has not yet gone “on sale,” but the higher regular price has been established which could facilitate the company offering a seemingly deep discount from it.
Shoppers will likely flock back to their stores because, unfortunately, everyone loves a bargain even if it is a phony one. Lucky for J.C. Penney too, state Attorneys General will probably let them get away with it because of lax enforcement of local laws that prohibit fictitious discounts under certain circumstances.
Note: It is not known how many of JCP’s items have had their regular prices marked up.