Penney Goes It Alone With Prototype

Nov 05, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

J.C. Penney has opened its new free-standing prototype department store in Cedar Hill, Texas, reports the Dallas Morning News.

Penney is looking to recapture customers who prefer not to drive to the mall and wade through the throngs. As other mall-based department stores, Penney has lost business to
discounters and specialty outlets doing business in stand-alone locations, strip malls and outside shopping centers.

The new store is housed in a 94,000-square-foot building on a single level. Checkouts are arranged in supermarket fashion at the store entrances and shoppers can navigate the
store with shopping carts. The new Penney store contains other departments found in their mall-based counterparts including a portrait studio, catalog desk and beauty salon.

The Cedar Hill store faces some stiff competition in its new digs. According to DMN, a Wal-Mart Supercenter, a SuperTarget and a Kohl’s are in close proximity.

Penney plans to open two additional stand-alone units in Plainfield, Indiana and Coon Rapids, Minnesota this month in addition to the Texas store.

Moderator’s Comment: Are malls going the way of the dinosaur? What will it take to reinvigorate the mall environment?

It’s interesting to see J.C. Penney and Sears going outside the mall to stand-alone units while BJ’s, Home Depot and other retailers, not normally associated
with malls, are setting up shop in that environment.

Penney expects its stand-alone units will produce a return better than the $132 per square foot it does in its average mall store. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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