Required Reading/Resources AND INSTRUCTIONS
Reingold, J., Jones, M., & Kramer, S. (2014). How to fail in business while really, really trying. Fortune, 169 (5), 80.
Lublin, J. S., & Mattioli, D. (2013, Apr 09). Penney CEO out, old boss back in. Wall Street Journal (Online). Retrieved from ProQuest.
Glazer, E., Lublin, J. S., & Mattioli, D. (2013, Apr 9). Penney backfires on ackman. Wall Street Journal (Online). Retrieved from ProQuest.
D’Innocenzio, A. (2012, January 27). J.C. Penney slashing prices on all merchandise. USA Today. Retrieved from
Reingold, J. (2012, March 19). Retail’s new radical. Fortune. Retrieved from
Mattioli, D. (2012, January 26). J.C. Penney chief thinks different. Wall Street Journal.
Mattioli, D. (2012, January 25). How J.C. Penney was minted. Wall Street Journal.
There’s a lot going on at J.C. Penney these days. With a new CEO, Penney, confronted with pressing competition up, down, and sideways in the department store wars, is reinventing itself in terms of merchandising, supply, and pricing strategies. Here we will concentrate only on the pricing aspects of these new directions. However, this is ultimately about positioning; trying to find a space that is responsive to potential customers as well as differentiating the Penney brand from Target, Kohl’s, Wal-Mart, and Macy’s.
These articles shed additional light on the implications of Penney’s new direction:
Berfield, S. (2012, May 24), Remaking J.C. Penney Without Coupons. Bloomfield Business Week.Retrieved from https://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-05-24/remaking-j-dot-c-dot-penney-without-coupons
Conte, C. (2012, March 8). Stein Mart reducing coupon use, lowering prices, Jacksonville Business Journal. Retrieved from https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/blog/2012/03/stein-mart-reducing-coupon-use.html?ana=RSS&s=article_search&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+bizj_jacksonville+%28Jacksonville+Business+Journal%29
Stein Mart plans to reduce its dependence on coupons and return to the everyday low-pricing strategy it became known for, with plans to cut prices between 5% and 10% on much of its merchandise. “We don’t want our customers to think they have to use a coupon to get a better price at Stein Mart,” said Jay Stein, chairman of the board and interim CEO. Girard, K. (2012, March 5). Is J.C. Penney’s makeover the future of retailing? Harvard Business School Working Knowledge. Retrieved from https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6944.html
Halkias, M. (2011, December 7). J.C. Penney buys stake in Martha Stewart’s company. The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved from
Should Martha Stewart target markets or mass merchandise?
Talley, K. (2012,, January 27). Penney CEO says profits won’t suffer. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from
Timberlake, C., & Townsend, M. (2012, February 28). Macy’s says Martha’s dance card is too full.Business Week. Retrieved from https://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-02-28/macys-says-martha-stewarts-dance-card-is-too-full
A well-written report should have a brief introduction, headings or subheadings, and a brief concluding comment. Note that you should use some keywords as headings or subheadings such as “Johnson’s pricing strategy,” instead of a sentence or a question. Read and cite article listed above, supplemented with any other articles related to J.C. Penney, and develop a report addressing following issues.
1. Briefly describe Johnson’s pricing strategy, also providing background on the company and department store industry.
2. Explain why Johnson’s pricing strategy did not work. Support your position in terms of environmental factors such as economy, the competition, and changing consumer behavior.
3. What do you think Johnson could have done better? Take into account J.C. Penney’s segmentation, positioning, and branding strategies to explain this issue.
4. Compare J.C. Penney’s current pricing strategy and Johnson’s pricing strategy, based on your research on the most recent situation of J.C. Penney. How do you think J.C. Penney would perform in the next five years? Take into consideration the relationships between pricing and other aspects of the marketing effort such as a change in merchandising, logo, atmospherics, use of celebrity spokespersons, and so on.
Assignment Expectations Regarding Your References and Defense of Your Positions
Write clearly, simply, and logically. Your paper should be 750-1500 words long, excluding title pages and references, but quality of writing is more important than length. Use double-spaced, black Verdana or Times Roman font in 12 pt. type size.
Back up your positions or opinions with references to the required reading found in the Module 1-5 Backgrounds and Ongoing Useful Resources. In using those references, demonstrate your understanding of the concepts presented. Rather than grading on how much information you find, emphasis will be on the defense of the positions you take on the issues. Also remember that:
1. The “why” is more important than the “what.”
2. The defense of your positions on the issues is more important than the positions you take.
Do not repeat or quote definitions. Your use of the required reading to support your opinions (that is, contentions or positions) should demonstrate that you understand the concepts presented. Do not include definitions or summaries of the readings or simply describe what the company did. Instead, your responses to the questions should be analytical and should demonstrate that (a) you understand the principles from the background reading and (b) you can apply them to this particular case. Vague, general answers will not earn a good grade.
Avoid redundancy and general statements such as “All organizations exist to make a profit.” Make every sentence count.
Paraphrase the facts using your own words and ideas, employing quotes sparingly. Quotes, if absolutely necessary, should rarely exceed five words.
When writing an academically oriented paper, you will uncover many facts about the product. If you paraphrase the facts, cite the sources in your text and link those citations to references at the end of the paper.