- Now that J.C. Penney’s turnaround has progressed beyond “patching up holes,” the retailer is betting on more sophisticated technology to help restore billions in sales lost during the Ron Johnson regime, said Marvin Ellison two months into his role as CEO of the $12.3 billion chain, at Women’s Wear Daily’s summit, Fortune reported.
- Penney is focusing on upgrading critical functions where it lags competitors, such as digitizing its e-commerce distribution centers to facilitate seamless omnichannel shopping, implementing a new merchandising planning system to help localize assortments, and analyzing its reams of data better to create personalized shopper offers, Women’s Wear Daily reported.
- Getting its back-office functions in order will strengthen Penney’s three strategic growth pillars: omnichannel, private brands like Liz Claiborne and the new Belle + Sky, “and revenue per customer,” he said.
Ellison, who J. C. Penney plucked from Home Depot where he most recently served as executive vice president of stores, is known for his operational savvy and has been credited with narrowing the performance gap between Home Depot and rival Lowe’s. He did so by maximizing supply chain efficiencies, for one, what’s needed at Penney, and what he calls the “science” of retailing: Penney is “heavy on art, and not good on science,” he said at the summit, reported WWD.
Technology upgrades come as Penney reembraces its 86 million, budget-minded shoppers with merchandise that speaks to her. That’s an about-face from the prior regime, which brought in upscale lines and fancy in-store shops to court a higher-ender consumer, or as Ellison said, “like giving up your wonderful high school girlfriend of three years … for the homecoming queen.”