JCPenney CEO Offers Loyal Customers $10 Coupon After He Got Rid Of Coupons

We’re confused by you, JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson. First you say “No more sales at JCPenney!” and try to offer low prices all the time. That didn’t work so well, and so then you say “No more coupons!” and follow that one up by sending customers a coupon. Pick a plan, Ron. Pick a plan.

Johnson sent customers an email today thanking them for remaining loyal to the retailer during his tumultuous reign. Last February, JCPenney tossed coupons and sales events out the window in an attempt to put the spotlight on its everyday low prices.

“With all the changes taking place in our stores, the question I hear most often is: ‘What’s your vision for jcpenney?’” Johnson wrote in the email, according to Reuters. In other words, “How can I get customers back in the doors?”

He seemingly answers his own question by proffering a $10 “gift” (also known as a coupon) to thank shoppers for staying loyal. It can be used until November 4 in JCPenney stores.

“One of our core values is that you shouldn’t have to wait for a sale or coupon to get great value,” he writes, adding later: “As an incentive, I’m enclosing a $10 gift.”

A company spokeswoman tells the Wall Street Journal that the offer is definitely not a coupon.

“This invitation is in no way a reflection of a departure from our fair and square everyday low prices,” she said.

As one analyst points out to Reuters: “Why do that unless you want to drive traffic? It’s another sign they’re having trouble weaning customers off of the old ways of shopping.”

Sending mixed messages doesn’t work in the long run, so it might be time for Johnson to reassess his relationship with coupons. We can’t fault you for trying to give customers something, Ron, but some consistency would be helpful here.

J.C. Penney CEO who swore off coupons offers a coupon [Reuters]
Penney Backslides on ‘No Coupon’ Vow [Wall Street Journal]