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J.C. Penney to change pricing structure again


Plano, Texas -- J.C. Penney said Thursday it is once again tweaking its pricing structure, changing course just six months after introducing a three-tiered everyday pricing strategy.

The retailer said that, beginning Aug. 1, it will eliminate one of the tiers and bring back the word "clearance." To avoid the kind of confusion the company created last February when it changed pricing without properly communicating the new strategies with its customers, Penney said it will tweak its advertising to make sure the changes are clear to consumers.

While some analysts seem encouraged that new CEO Ron Johnson is re-examining some of the sweeping changes he made when he took the wheel in November, others wonder if he will be given enough time to effect his promised turnarounds.

Johnson expressed confidence that the pricing strategy will work.

"We thought simplifying 590 unique sale events into three types of pricing would be easier, but it turns out that customers and others found the pricing a little confusing," he said. "Now we're going from 590 to 3 to 1: The first price is the right price."

Under the new system, Penney is keeping "Every Day" low prices that are consistently 40% lower than regular prices before the company eliminated sales. It also will keep periodic sales, but will label them as “clearance.”

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