When JCPenney decided to obliterate the term “sale” from their corporate vocabulary, it seemed like a stroke of genius. The removal of the terminology from commercials, promotions, and in-store displays suggested that everything on the retailer’s sales floor was inexpensive and affordable. Unfortunately, consumers didn’t seem to understand the campaign and, as a result, they began avoiding the store like it had suddenly become infested with something they didn’t want to catch. Even the phrase “month-long value” couldn’t get folks to walk through the doors.
Now, with their business experiencing a steady decline, CEO Ron Johnson has decided that deleting the word “sale” from the company’s vocabulary probably wasn’t the smartest decision in the long run. In other words, the JCPenney sale is making a comeback.
“t’s just been kind of confusing,” Johnson explained at a Piper Jaffray investor conference. “We’re moving away from the word ‘month-long value’ because no one really understood that, to calling it what we intended to do, a sale.”
“Month-long value” refers to the items at JCPenney that have been marked down for roughly 30 days. Although it’s still technically a sale, consumers have stayed away from the stores in droves, effectively causing the company’s first-quarter profits to plummet to unacceptable levels. And while they aren’t planning to abandon their current campaign in its entirety, the word “sale” will certainly be making an appearance.
“Our marketing isn’t doing the work. It needs to communicate pricing strategy and bring in more traffic,” Johnson stated. “We’ve got to get our pricing across.”