Tech investments key to JCPenney’s $1 billion reinvestment plan

The planned digital investments include highlighting the value JCPenney offers across product categories through a more seamless shopping experience and increased customer personalization.

JCPenney announced a multi-year, self-funded reinvestment plan during a virtual briefing on August 28, and included details on technology and digital investments as part of the larger plan.

JCPenney's CEO Marc Rosen said during the briefing that the digital investments have been going on for “a little over a year now” and that some of the tech investments have been installed and piloted but did not go into detail on which investments were in pilot phase.

The department store retailer plans to reinvest the amount by fiscal year 2025 to further improve customer experience and operational efficiencies. The billion dollars is self-funded from cash flow the business is generating, according to Rosen, and JCPenney won’t take on any more debt to fund the investment.

The reinvestment builds on progress in fiscal year 2022, including the launch of JCPenney Beauty, product collaborations, completed store refreshes and improved digital shopping, according to a press release.

Katie Mullen, who was promoted to chief customer officer from chief digital officer in April, said the retailer talked to 15,000 customers across the U.S. to determine how to meet their needs for the investment and the company has been on this journey for around 18 months.

The planned digital investments include highlighting the value JCPenney offers across product categories through a more seamless shopping experience and increased customer personalization. The company will continue to upgrade its website and mobile app with improved search functionality and product details, customer product reviews, and more customized product and styling recommendations. Rosen noted during the briefing the website would have better product imagery and product descriptions.


The company’s more than 650 stores are undergoing varying updates and in-store upgrades will include new lighting, new paint, and centralized checkout, Rosen said. Additionally, there will be mobile devices throughout the store for the associates.

Additions like a new point-of-sale system will better integrate with inventory, and upgrades to in-store Wi-Fi networks will provide faster, more reliable connections for customers and associates. More than 100 stores have already been refreshed, according to the press release.

JCPenney is also upgrading merchandising tools and supply chain operations. New inventory management systems are hoped to enable greater accuracy in decision-making and efficiency in execution, allowing JCPenney to cater to customers’ unique needs, fulfill orders faster and reduce purchase delivery times. Enhanced tools will also scale JCPenney’s ability to provide customized and localized product assortments in tune with local community preferences and trends. 


Along with these physical investments, the company is also introducing a reinvigorated customer strategy, ‘Make It Count’, to remind customers that “JCPenney stands with them, matching their efforts to make every day, dollar, and date night count.”

Mullen noted during the briefing the customer is “looking for us to make an unwavering commitment to them.”

“We see a common truth for our customers," she said in a press release. “Too often, we are forced to make compromises between time and money, quality and price, responsibilities and enjoying life’s moments. We want to show customers that we are in it with them, just as we have been throughout our history, and investing in helping them make the most of their moments. ‘Make It Count’ is our recommitment to them that JCPenney will keep putting in the effort to match theirs.”

JCPenney’s ‘Make it Count’ proposition will feature a series of lifestyle vignettes, telling customers’ stories of personal, emotional, and transformational moments in their daily lives, and reinforcing how JCPenney products are part of these wonderful memories. 

The company’s brand proposition is anchored in four areas:

  • Making Fashion Truly Accessible. JCPenney "curates relevant and inclusive designs for everybody" and has been at the front lines of private brand development and strategic partnerships. Most recently, JCPenney announced its partnership with celebrity stylist Jason Bolden to reimagine collections for two private labels – J.Ferrar and Worthington – made for every size, shape and body. 
  • Genuinely Rewarding. "Every trip, in store or online, should be worth it." JCPenney wants customers to receive both an emotional and a financial benefit with its credit card program, loyalty program and customer service.
  • Standing with Communities. "JCPenney strives to be an active part of all its communities, from physical communities where its more than 650 stores are located, to cultural communities." Localized product assortments and philanthropic efforts are  part of the ways the company is trying to acomplish this. 
  • 120 Years of Doing for Others What We Want for Ourselves. "The company was founded on and still lives by the Golden Rule – to treat others as you’d want to be treated." This commitment to positive change remains at the core of the company’s culture, the retailer said. 

This article originally appeared in Retail Leader's sister publication RIS News.