J.C. Penney resumes old pricing strategy; marketing exec leaves for Home Depot
Plano, Texas — A Tuesday report by Reuters said that embattled J.C. Penney Co. has recently revived its previously abandoned pricing strategy of raising prices on its own brands then discounting them as a way to spike sales and margins.
Citing an emailed statement by Penney spokeswoman Daphne Avila, Reuters reported that the retailer began changing price tags on merchandise earlier in March and expects to complete the process in April.
"While our prices continue to represent a tremendous value every day, we now understand that customers are motivated by promotions and prefer to receive discounts through sales and coupons applied at the register," Avila wrote in the statement.
Penney’s brands include St. John’s Bay, jcp, Stafford and Arizona. The lineup of private labels is said to generate more than half of Penney’s revenue.
In February, CEO Ron Johnson announced an impending pricing strategy change, but didn’t provide details. He acknowledged that abandoning its long-time markdown and couponing practices was a mistake.
In other Penney news, VP strategic marketing Lisa DeStefano-Orebaugh has departed to take the VP marketing and brand management position for Home Depot. According to Bloomberg, DeStefano-Orebaugh hasn’t yet started her new position with Home Depot.
Her departure marks the third high-profile marketing exit in less than a year. CMO Michael Francis resigned in June, and SVP creative marketing Greg Clark left in October to take the marketing helm at Jones Group.
GPShopper launches Consule 3.0
NEW YORK —GPShopper, a mobile solutions company focusing on applications and websites for retail brands, announced today the launch of Console 3.0. The console, which includes a content management system (CMS) and a reporting dashboard, offers cross-channel marketers the first comprehensive toolset in mobile, rivaling the full functionality of a large-scale digital or e-commerce platform.
Console 3.0, which provides retail clients with full control of their mobile applications and websites in real-time, allows clients to retain brand consistency across all channels while simultaneously facilitating the distribution of mobile-exclusive content. A total of 12 features can be managed, including marketing banners, product information and location-based offers and coupons. The reporting dashboard brings to market new mobile-centric, cross-channel metrics, such as location and in-store analytics. Complete analytics include both traditional e-commerce metrics applied to mobile as well as rich engagement data.
"GPShopper continues to be an innovative presence in the mobile space," Dan O’Rourke, marketing manager of Lunds and Byerly’s, a Minnesota family-owned grocer. "The new console is an excellent tool that allows existing employee resources to manage and configure most of our applications’ features. This has been tremendously helpful in operationalizing our mobile initiatives without the need to develop significantly new skillsets for our team."
“Now that mobile sites and applications are a vital part of a retail marketer’s toolset, the ability to fully control mobile content and performance has become imperative,” Alex Muller, CEO, GPShopper. “We’re delighted by our clients’ reception to Console 3.0. It has truly established a new standard for managing mobile.”
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Consumer confidence plummets in March
New York — Consumer confidence fell sharply in March, according to The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index. The Index, which had improved in February, now stands at 59.7 down from 68.0 last month.
The Present Situation Index decreased to 57.9 from 61.4. The Expectations Index declined to 60.9 from 72.4 last month.
“Consumer Confidence fell sharply in March, following February’s up tic," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. "This month’s retreat was driven primarily by a sharp decline in expectations, although consumers were also more pessimistic in their assessment of current conditions. The loss of confidence, particularly expectations, mirrors the losses experienced this past December and January. The recent sequester has created uncertainty regarding the economic outlook and as a result, consumers are less confident.”
Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions declined in March. Those saying business conditions are “good” decreased to 16.0% from 17.6%, while those stating business conditions are “bad” increased to 29.3% from 28.2%. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was mixed. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” decreased to 9.4% from 10.1%, but those claiming jobs are “hard to get” edged down to 36.2% from 36.9%.
Consumers are once again pessimistic about the short-term outlook. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased to 14.4 % from 18.0 %, while those anticipating business conditions to worsen increased to 18.3 % from 16.6 %.
Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also less favorable. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead declined to 12.3% from 16.1%, while those expecting fewer jobs increased to 26.6% from 22.1%. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase fell to 13.7% from 15.8%, while those expecting a decrease edged down to 18.0% from 19.3%.