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JCP talks about home

Retail Editor 3 -- Home Textiles Today, February 28, 2013

Plano, Texas - A hint as to what the reorganized JCPenney home department will look like in a post-Macy's/Martha Stewart lawsuit environment emerged during JCP's webcast with analysts Wednesday afternoon - along with a frank assessment of the department's dismal sales performance last year.
Originally envisioned as a department anchored by a 20,000-sq.-ft. Martha Stewart store, the new home layout - scheduled to roll out by Mother's Day (May 12) - yesterday was described as a series of 20 shops.
In addition to shop resets in more than 500 of the company's 1,100 stores, there will brand introductions for Martha Stewart, Michael Graves and Jonathan Adler. An unspecified number of stores will include working kitchens.
Given the numbers divulged by JCPenney ceo Ron Johnson during the session, home is crying for improvement.
"Home has been one of our worst-performing categories for years," he said, noting the numbers were particularly bad last year.
Home once accounted for nearly 20% of total sales. Now it's down to 10%, he said.
Sales per sq. ft. in the department peaked at $185. That metric has fallen below $80.
Johnson attributed the 33% declines last year in ecommerce sales to the fact that home traditionally accounted for 50% of the retailer's online sales. He also vowed the company would recapture its online share of home sales.
After JCP has launched its new home brands and expanded its furniture offerings, Johnson said he expects online sales of home merchandise to eventually exceed store sales in the department.


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