J.C. Penney has decided upon a new strategy … again. I commend them for at least realizing that returning to their failed strategy was not viable. And, they have survived long enough to try one more thing. That was not 100% clear to me as I noted previously.
What is their new strategy? Latina focus. This quote sums things up: “Our growth depends on catering to the Latina,” said Lyris Leos, director-multicultural marketing at J.C. Penney. Until now, “we have never overtly stated and assertively made the claim that the Latina is our brand muse.” (I’m also sure Ms. Leos has to be excited about this change in focus and what it may do for her career, assuming it is successful.)
The challenge is that Hispanics only account for about 9% of their customers, though a bit more than that in sales. Will a focus attracting Hispanics cause some portion of the other 81% of their customer-base to feel the store is no longer for them, which is what happened with Ron Johnson’s strategy? They lost existing customers at a faster rate than they attracted new ones, which is not an unexpected result. If it happens again, what will the Board do this time?