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February 4, 2013

J.C. Penney Intros “Elsewhere” Price Comparisons

Filed under: Internet,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:49 am

Just a year ago, J.C. Penney’s new CEO, Ron Johnson, promised to do away with that chain’s use of phony sales and “fake prices.” Finally, an honest merchant. What integrity. How pro-consumer. His reward: consumers left in droves and sales plummeted.

Now one year later, guess what’s coming back? Although not to the same degree, the chain is re-introducing sales, and has begun making price comparisons again to prices it never charged.

Here is a sample item from their website:


This shirt is being offered at its regular price of $25, but just above it is a $34 price crossed out, described as “$34 elsewhere.” Well guess what, this shirt is NOT $34 elsewhere because this is JCP’s own brand and it is not sold elsewhere. So what does “elsewhere” mean?


elsewhere explained

JCP says it means the price for the same item or a comparable item at some other seller. To the average person, “elsewhere” in this context most likely is understood to mean that that item sells elsewhere for such and such a price. If JCP wants to refer to the price of a similar quality item elsewhere, they should use the more commonly understood term for that — “comparable value” or “compare at” — as you might see at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s.

Now, moving over to JCP’s jewelry department, if you are shopping there for Valentine’s Day, heaven help you, because they have a new type of price comparison for jewelry — “appraised value.” The lengthy definition is above.

It is unfortunate that JCP has taken a step backwards to once again make price comparisons to inflated prices it never charged, but we, as consumers, are really to blame. We just love a bargain, even when it is a phony one.

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  1. At least JCP standardized their definition of “appraised value.” Many small jewelry chains determine appraised value by what the store manager decides it is worth before discount.

    Comment by Marc — February 4, 2013 @ 7:53 am
  2. I guess consumers are getting what they asked for. Phony sales and the illusion that they are getting a bargain!

    Comment by Peter — February 4, 2013 @ 8:08 am
  3. Ron Johnson made the mistake of trying to be upfront with customers and being honest.

    It seems like most customers enjoy playing the price game and seek out sales and discounts whether they are legitimate or not.

    I applauded JC Penny when they changed their pricing structure and did away with the old style weekly advertisements. If something is worth the advertised price then I will buy it. If not, then I will not buy it. I have long since stopped buying things because they are on sale and instead just focus on what I NEED. Too many consumers see “SALE” and end up purchasing things that they wouldn’t have bought or desired otherwise.

    At least it seems like JCP isn’t reverting back to the 0.99 style pricing. That is another thing that gets on my nerves. Prices should just be whole dollar amounts. Stop that.

    Comment by Wayne R — February 4, 2013 @ 8:42 am
  4. Bottom line, who has the best price for what I want? I really could care less about all the other “noise”, if I go to a store, price isn’t right, I don’t buy. Simple.

    Comment by Gina — February 4, 2013 @ 9:17 am
  5. This looks to me to be a prime example of what the politicians call a “budget cut”, in a more down-to-earth example:
    “I’m budgeting $21.00 for a new shirt. Oh look, JCP has shirt on sale for $25.00. They say it really costs $34.00. Wow! I just “cut” my clothing cost by $9.00! I’ll take my savings and treat myself to a free pizza.”

    Comment by Marty — February 4, 2013 @ 11:22 am
  6. We gave up shopping at JCP ages ago……

    Comment by Nancy — February 4, 2013 @ 11:32 am
  7. According to Yahoo Finance, JCP is scheduled to close between 300 & 350 of it’s 1100 stores. Store sales fell over 26% this past quarter – Internet sales even worst. Part of the blame was also put on Ron Johnson’s decision to do away with discounting which confused many buyers. Bottom line here IMHO is that “elsewhere” means where shoppers are going!

    Comment by Frankie — February 4, 2013 @ 12:12 pm
  8. A year ago, they had two salespeople in the mens shop, in the mall. I used to buy some of my jackets there, for years. Now they have changed the store, no one is there, and they have a measly collection of jackets. All the jackets had a price, now you have to find a salesperson, to ask. Good luck! Plus, they used to have a great circular in the newspaper, with coupons. Now it’s all garbage. I no longer shop there.

    Comment by Marv — February 4, 2013 @ 5:01 pm
  9. You know I shopped at Penny’s for 30 years, sales are used to move stuff off your floor so new stuff can come in. jCP prices are higher than before. Their last year sales on old stock, and i saw sales signs on the floor in January, was to get rid of their stock, to make room and stuff the store with fad, cheap, over inflated MSRP clothing for the 16-27 crowd. This is the thing neatly forgotten in Ron’s vision. JCP was once known for value, for all thru thier doors, style, read this as not neon pink, neon green, not 2-3 month fad lifetime, not for people who need a magazine to be told what to wear, not clothing that looks silly in 3 months. It is now selling Lesuire Suits products at a good markup. Ron himself stated JCP isn’t for old ladies, what an ego on a middle age man, with a 20 dyed haircut, wearing a sweater with and open shirt, grow up, wear one of your damn JCP suits with a tie, like the rest of the real business world. Only thing missing from Ron is a cowboy hat and the boots, either one will you find at JCP.

    Brands like Justin Timberlake have MSRP pricing on line at $150-$200, even selling them at a fix price of $60 bucks ain’t no bargin, given the quality is worst then the old $20 pair without that Timberlake logo sewed in. What will eat JCP’s lunch on those are on-line retailers who sell at the same retail price, $150 jeans for $60, but offer sale pricing to unload stock, you know like a real retail business model, not like where you set a hard price, never discount, design and manufactor the product you are selling, can you say Apple? Google the above jeans, shop around, I do. My last pair of $150 Clark boots came from an online retailer for $69 bucks, with free ship back, beat that, JCP. Oh, the $150 was the local sale price.

    This is how honest Ron wants to try to pull off higher profits in a measured square foot. The problem is the new store is working with a smaller foot print, read this he has reduced greatly the area were products are sold, look at the wide ailse, sitting area, “bars”, hang out area, coffee, kids play area. Think about it, someone pays for that eye candy, free haircuts, pictures, wasted space, and to pull off higher profits in what amounts to is a smaller store.

    This works by selling at a higher price on average via of Fake value celerity names, were once a pair of jeans cost $5 bucks to the store, $20 out the door, it is now $1 to the store, $60 for you to purchase with your little label.

    Only thing magical about those jeans you are wearing is some other idiot overpay.

    So Ron is all hat, boots, no cattle, JCP isn’t apple, Ron isn’t Steve, may Steve RIP.
    Nobody is buying Ron’s vision, or is that visions.

    There are major parts of the world where the asking price is only for the naive, you are expected to haggle for a good price, sales, coupons, prices like $1.99 satisfy some desire in the human race. Profitable companies know this and yes it is work for a company, some bargin sales are true stock reducing , unlike Apple which is a singular unique company.

    And there in lies the rub, as stated above, JCP isn’t Apple.

    Put your money where your mouth is, buy JCP stock. Rumor has it Ron has dumped his.

    Typed in on my iPad.

    Comment by Oh boy — February 4, 2013 @ 9:47 pm
  10. Were people really fooled by the so called sales to begin with????

    Comment by sam — February 4, 2013 @ 10:14 pm
  11. What Ron and JCP missed when they did away with the regular ads and sales is the fact that those items are teasers for many of us to go browse the rest of the store. If the ad brought me in for (good) sale priced jeans, I’m going to have to wander across the department and check out the tops to go with the new jeans. While I’m in the women’s section, my teenager browes the young men’s section because there was something in the sale ad that caught his attention. A few items of clothing for him, a few for me and $100+ later, we’re out the door.

    No ad, no teaser, no reason to make the drive…

    Comment by Julie — February 5, 2013 @ 5:42 pm
  12. To be very honest, I don’t normally shop at JCP. We went there a few times in 2011 to get dress shirts for my husband for Church. We could get a shirt and a matching tie for $20.00. I thought that was a pretty good deal. That was before they started with no sale and everyday low prices. Haven’t been back since then either.

    Comment by Pat — February 9, 2013 @ 12:37 am
  13. I pretty much stopped shopping at JCP since they have made all their ‘changes’. The one in my area looks like it is going out of business. All the prices have gone up. I used to buy my grandkids’ clothes there…I knew what the items cost and they have all gone up and there is used to be much more variety-no more. They also took out more than half the cash registers-there a big open areas where they once were. I enjoyed the coupons (spend $50, get $10 off). I used those things. I guess I will get my JCP credit card paid off much sooner.

    Comment by Karla — February 11, 2013 @ 2:03 pm

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