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J.C. Penney moving forward with big new initiatives


The likes of Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Best Buy have a new competitor to deal with—J.C. Penny.

"The department store retailer on Monday announced a major expansion into home appliances, as well as two new tests in the home area, one involving Ashley Furniture, and the other national carpet and flooring company Empire Today.

And in a rebuttal to some reports, Penney said it exceeded its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) expectations for the first quarter.

Penney said it will add an appliance showroom online and to nearly 500 of its stores, starting in early July. The rollout comes on the heels of a successful pilot with stores in three markets this past winter. The showroom will feature kitchen and laundry appliances from Samsung, LG, GE Appliances and Hotpoint, with 100 plus appliances on display.

“Since launching major appliances in 22 stores last February, the response has been outstanding,” said Marvin R. Ellison, CEO, J.C. Penney. “The pilot confirmed that we should not limit our business to apparel and soft home in order to achieve significant revenue growth.”

In addition, the chain plans to allocate an additional 25% of floor space to window coverings, including curtains, blinds and shades in about 500 stores, and test a new furniture line, Signature Design by Ashley ( from Ashley Furniture) in select locations. About 20 stores will be involved in the test, which will sell merchandise that is shipped directly to the customer by Ashley, according to reports.

In a venture with Empire Today, Penney will test an in-store flooring shop concept in stores in the Tampa, Fla., and Washington D.C., markets beginning this summer. Empire will occupy between 750 and 1,000 sq. ft. inside Penney’s home department, and oversee responsibility for marketing, customer service and environment.

"The current housing market presents a lucrative opportunity to diversify our Home assortment and strategically align with consumer spending patterns,” Ellison said. “By combining our soft home and window coverings merchandise with the industry`s leading brands for appliances, furniture and flooring, JCPenney will become a destination for home design and redecorating, allowing us to weather-proof our business during seasonal periods of the year."

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