HASN’T SAID IF ANCHORAGE STORES AMONG THOSE TO CLOSE
J.C. Penney will file for bankruptcy next week and start closing approximately 200 of it stores.
Recently, Neiman Marcus and J.Crew filed to reorganize under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which allows businesses to stiff some creditors.
Penney is the remaining anchor store in the Fifth Avenue Mall in Anchorage, after Nordstrom closed last year.
The company did not say if Anchorage’s store would be among the 200 that will be shuttered, but with downtown Anchorage’s economy struggling under various economic perils, it appears likely. Nordstrom last year decided to not renew its lease with the Municipality of Anchorage, which owns that property.
The Anchorage store has been closed temporarily, under state and municipal mandates that shuttered hundreds of businesses in March and April.
Penney, which opened 118 years ago, has about 850 stores and is based in Texas.
Thank you, Mayor Berkowitz — another victory.
I always wondered how they were profitable. Never busy.
They used to be, but like Nordstrom and many other chains they lost track of where they were. Chain stores lost all local identity and became mass market retailers that tried to sell the same, mostly imported, crap everywhere in America.
Into the Seventies, even chain stores had local identity; buyers were regional and merchandise assortments reflected local needs and tastes. As more and more merchandise came from offshore sources and supply lines and lead times became longer, merchandise became more and more standardized and selection both in styles and sizes of clothing and features of hard lines became more limited. Ultimately, the merchandise that people with retail merchandising degrees and MBAs selected because it would please everyone, pleased no one, and people didn’t buy it. When I was a JCP manager in the Seventies, Penney bragged about the huge percentage of the men in the US who made over $100K/yr., and that was real money back then, wore JC Penney suits, and it was a true boast. Well, nobody has worn a JC Penney suit in 20 or more years and admitted it.
In the Seventies, the JCP downtown had an excellent auto department; that building on the corner of 7th and B was their auto department, plus there was an automotive section in the store itself. They had a large sporting goods department on the first floor and even an extensive gun selection. I have a Ruger Mini-14 I bought there in ’75 or so.
When Nordstrom took over from Northern Commercial it kept a lot of the local identity of NC. There was even a sporting goods section for awhile; I have a Buck folding hunter I bought there in the Seventies. They had lots of Pendleton, Woolrich, and the like; they even had Eddie Bauer North Slope parkas. In later years they came to cater to gay guys and teenaged girls and sold the same crap they sold everywhere else in the Country, and nobody wanted it.
I took a “get off the sofa” job on the sales floor at Cabela’s when it first opened. We simply couldn’t tailor our assortment to local needs either by type or season. Everything was on an assortment plan made by some weenie with a degree at corporate who’d never worked in a store and wouldn’t be caught dead working in one. If it wasn’t on the plan with its year-long lead time to get the crap from China, you just didn’t have it. And they wonder why brick and mortar retail is dying.
Nice reflection. I remember JCP as a kid in the 60’s. My mom bought me those green jeans because they came in a ‘Huskie” size. LOL I think they are gone like Western Auto.
I bought three suits at the Anchorage J C Penney in 2006. I even wear them on occasion.
Great analysis and while I think Amazon and the like hastened the decline more than anything, the things you mention would have slowed it and they are what will bring any retail brick and mortar back; focus on the region and customer service.
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