J.C. Penney Utilized Top-notch Store Service to Build Empire

By Kin Talk on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 with 6 comments

J.C. Penney cashed in on superior service at low cost and this led to 1,660 retail outlets.

James Cash Penney (1875-1971) is a nice name for an aspiring retail entrepreneur. At the tender age of 19, Penney started out as an apprentice at a dry goods store in Hamilton, Mo. The young man enjoying helping people and turned out to be a top salesman.

He worked hard and saved his money over the next 12 years, buying three shops. By 1928, J.C. Penney Co. (NYSE:JCP) had 1,000 department stores and revenues of $190 million ($2.6 billion in today’s money). This was a year before he listed the company on the New York Stock Exchange.

Then came the Great Depression that pretty much wiped out his fortune of $44 million – worth almost $600 million now. Penney did not give up.

He borrowed money on his life insurance to take care of payroll expenses and opened 78 stores. This was in a down economic climate that had seen yearly sales plunge $54 million in the first three years of the recession.

Penney’s key was grabbing market opportunities at the low point. Penney had accomplished much at the time of his death, with the company boasting of 1,660 massive retail outlets.

JCP Overcame Poverty

In his childhood, Penney lived in a farm in Missouri. His family was so poor, he had to get a job at age 8 to even get his own cloths. Penney lived the hard life doing jobs on the farm like growing watermelons and raising pigs.

Serve customers with genuine enthusiasm

Penney’s father got him a retail job at Hale Bros., but the boy faced competition from other clerks, who hogged the customers who visited.  Penney realized after a few months that he had to assert himself.
In”J.C. Penney: Merchant Prince”, Beatrice Plumb writes “At that moment, there came to him a spine-tangling realization of himself as a person, one in whom lay the power to succeed.”

J.C. worked hard and this led to him falling sick at various points in life. In 1897, he went down with a cough and the doctor advised him to live in Denver as the dry air would prevent Penney from developing tuberculosis which had killed his father a little earlier.

J.C. decided to go over to Denver with his first wife, Berta, but was let go from a job at a clothing store as he was against price gouging. Then Penney ventured to start a butcher shop in close by Longmont, but that too failed because he didn’t want to bribe the buyer at his biggest account.

Then came Penney’s big break when he got started at a dry goods store and the proprietors were so amazed that they asked him to go and open a store in Evanston, Wyoming, in 1900.

Penney quotes

“I am grateful for all my problems. I would never have amounted to anything were it not for adversity.”

“I do not believe in excuses. I believe in hard work as the prime solvent for life’s problems.”

“A merchant who approaches business with the idea of serving the public well has nothing to fear from the competition.”

“It is the service that we are not obliged to give that people value the most.”

“Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement.”

“The best teamwork comes from men who are working independently toward a common vision.”

“As a rule, we find what we look for; we achieve what we get ready for.”

Category: jc penney , JCP , retail stocks , retail store



nidhi jain said...
December 19, 2014 at 11:37 PM

We share always profitable update of trading markets see Equity Tips as well as other recommended trading market updates.

Sofiya Lim said...
December 22, 2014 at 3:21 AM

The finance blog is quite interesting, as it provides news related to capital markets also. Try 1 week forex free trial to trade profitably in currencies.

michale wong said...
December 22, 2014 at 3:28 AM

I read your post, It was amazing and Your thought process is wonderful. The way you explain is awesome. They are inspiring and helpful. Thanks for sharing this information and views.But can you post something related to SGX Singapore, as I am in need of this.

Fendy Chia said...
December 29, 2014 at 4:52 AM

Interesting facts you shared related to stocks, i found helpful points here and want to read more on Forex Trading SIgnals
for daily purpose.

Fendy Chia said...
January 1, 2015 at 4:10 AM

I like your way of presenting such type of interesting facts with us and i was looking for KLSE Stocks Signals and stocks news.

Simran Roy said...
February 6, 2015 at 5:12 AM

Informative post, quite interesting news you shared with us, keep posting some stock market tips too and it can be helpful.

Post a Comment