Penney Targets Middle America and Target

Jan 14, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson

In an informal meeting with Wall Street investors in New York yesterday, new J.C. Penney chief executive Mike Ullman indicated the chain needs to continue sharpening its pencil on pricing and offering fashion choices that compel Middle America to shop in its stores.

One retailer Mr. Ullman evidently feels has distinguished itself in achieving the types of results he seeks is Target. According to The Dallas Morning News, Penney’s chief mentioned Target more than any other retail competitor during the meeting. “Everyone is a competitor and Penney can’t just look at a Kohl’s or Mervyn’s and say ‘that’s my competition,’ ” he said.

Mr. Ullman who took over as Penney’s chief in December from Allen Questrom said he also thinks the Kmart/Sears merger may offer growth opportunities for his business. He believes that once the deal is finalized, Sears will begin to close a number of its stores. In turn, Mr. Ullman believes former shoppers at these stores will be inclined to check Penney out.

Moderator’s Comment: What is your reaction to the views expressed by Mike Ullman as reported in The Dallas Morning News article?
George Anderson – Moderator

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1 Comment on "Penney Targets Middle America and Target"

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Emily Kuchar
Emily Kuchar
15 years 11 months ago

Indeed, being a middle level retailer seems popular, and one may choose from a number of options when strolling through the mall, or on a shopping trip about town.

JC Penney as a corporation can try to offer the customer some core things, like good, reasonably-priced merchandise and lots of sales, but each Penney’s store will be different. I work at a store where I don’t believe our associates are confused or of little help – many of them have worked at the store for years and know a lot about merchandise and customer service.

There are a lot of choices in retail, with many sharing some attributes; there are also a lot of consumers. Penney’s offers big sales, a wide array of merchandise, and new and different merchandise that is always coming in. J.C. Penney himself said that good competition was one of the best things for a business; this seems to hold true for Penney’s.


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