J.C. Penney Goes Back to Having Fake Sales

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They're caught in the act: Examples show prices are being marked up so they seem a bargain when put on sale.

Consumers want to be tricked.

That’s what J.C. Penney seems to think after kicking CEO Ron Johnson to the curb last month after a year on the job — and bringing back the guy who was doing it before him, Mike Ullman.

They recently put out an ad admitting that “it’s no secret J.C. Penney changed,” and “we learned to listen to you.”

And what you want, apparently, is marked-up prices.

Under Johnson, the retailer’s shares lost more than 50 percent of their value, CNN says. Some blamed his decision to switch to a Fair and Square Pricing structure with a predictable sales schedule. Now it’s going back to the old ways, MousePrint.org says:

How are they going to get customers back in the door? They are probably going to reintroduce deep discounting. To start running 50% off sales again, however, they will first have to raise their regular prices to an artificially high level. To see if this was happening, Mouse Print undertook a little spotcheck of their prices.

They found five examples where prices have jumped significantly:

  • A pair of jeans that was $17 several months ago is $24 now.
  • A towel set went from $30 to $55.
  • A purple a.n.a.-brand halter tankini went from a regular price of $25 to a “sale” price of $26.60, and it now claims the “original” price was $38.
  • A set of cookware that was $200 regularly is now $200 on “sale,” with an “original” price of $250 and a retail price of $540.
  • A couch went from $900 to $1,695.

You can check their screenshots — these are the exact same items. MousePrint.org says it’s not known how many of JCP’s items were marked up, or whether the hiked items they highlighted will go on “sale” for their previous prices.

Stacy Johnson

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