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JCP Sees Improvement in Bedding and Bath

LAS VEGAS - J. C Penney Company's home business "only had one way to go" - and that is up, which is where the category's sales are heading now, the company's chief told analysts during the retailer's presentation recently at the Telsey Advisory Group's Consumer Conference in Las Vegas.
     Admittedly, JCP's home business "did not do well during the recession - many people didn't," noted chairman and ceo Myron (Mike) Ullman. "I think our view was that we also didn't help ourselves in some of the key categories."
JCP Pushes Long-range Plan
     Plano, Texas - J. C. Penney Company is expanding its presence in several major markets with new stores - a "key component" of the retailer's long-range plan for the next five years, which is designed to generate $1 billion in sales growth over the period.
     JCPenney plans to beef up its presence in markets with "significant moderate income populations." The roll out begins in 2011 with the opening of three new JCPenney stores in Daly City (outside San Francisco), Calif., Glenarden (Washington, D.C. region), Md., and Dallas.
     An ongoing renovation program calls for "significant instore enhancements" this year at more than 750 locations. Of those, 76 will be major renovations - including a new 1,500- square-foot Sephora boutique, bringing the total number of JCP in-store Sephora locations to 231 by year-end. By 2014, the company expects to have completed renovations for at least 375 stores.
     JCP is investing $160 million in the project as part of its $500 million of expected capital expenditure for the year.
But since appointing John Tighe as svp and gmm of home earlier this year, JCP is "starting to see a good response in luggage, a great backpack experience during back to school, housewares are quite strong, up double digits, and we're starting to see action in bed and bath," Ullman said.
     Slower to pick up have been JCP's big-ticket businesses, furniture and window coverings and furniture, the latter carried in only 150 of the retailer's stores.
     To improve sales, Ullman said, "We are emphasizing more modern looks and making it easier for the customer to shop" these businesses at the stores.
     "We're quite optimistic," he added. "John Tighe an excellent merchant. He's only been on the job for seven or eight months, but I'm quite encouraged by the early signs of improvement."
     For holiday, home will be among the destinations in the store with new stocking-stuffer items, among other items.

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