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JCPenney in test of smaller off-mall unit

The new JCPenney store in nearby Cedar Hills is designed as the prototype for the company's off-mall department stores.

While Penney has long operated off-mall units, the test unit here — as well as two others opening this month in Plainfield, IN, and Coon Rapids, MN — will serve as the contemporary version of the off-mall store.

The 95,000 square foot store — smaller than most Penney department stores — opened last week with a number of consumer-friendly attributes: one level, wider aisles, brighter lighting, bigger signage that is more directional, checkouts at entrances, and stroller/shopping carts.

Merchandise selection and presentation in home is pretty much as it is in other Penney units, a spokesperson explained.

But the store is easier to shop. The company anticipates this store will comfortably exceed the $140 sales per square foot of its department stores in 2002.

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