J.C. Penney debuts new pricing policy

February 1, 2012 8:33:58 PM PST
You've likely seen the commercials with people screaming in frustration as they clipped coupons or arrived at sales that had ended.

All ended with today's date. The day J.C. Penney stores debuted their new "Fair and Square" pricing policy, along with other in-store changes like wider aisles, lower racks and a more liberal return policy.

Hank Clacko, manager of the J.C. Penney store at the the Cherry Hill Mall, explained the new policy, "You don't see all these different coupons. You don't see Saturday morning specials. You see three very basic pricing strategies in our store."

First are the everyday prices, which have red price tags.

Clacko explains, "What we call our everyday prices were basically our sale prices last year."

Then there are monthly specials. These are advertised in a once-a-month circular that was sent to about 14 million US homes. An example, Arizona jeans that were $37, are now everyday priced at $22, but are just $17 in February.

And finally, there are the blue-tagged "Best Price" items. Basically, these are what used to be clearance.

What you don't see on the tags (or at least you won't once all are updated) is an "original" or manufacturer's suggested retail price. J.C. Penney says the new "every day" prices are the equivalent of what used to be sale or coupon prices, but will shoppers buy as much if those savings aren't spelled out for them? The shoppers we spoke with today seemed positive about the concept.

Susan Roulston of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, said, "I think it's more similar to the sale prices, at least in the section where I was looking. I was looking at dresses and the prices were pretty good over there."

Caroly Baylor of Woodlynne, New Jersey, agreed. "A dress for $10 is a dress for $10," she said.