What In The World Is Going On With The Prices At JCPenney?

First JCPenney got rid of sales in favor of lower prices, then it fired its president, re-introduced some sales, then ditched the no-more-sales thing entirely, then started allegedly inflating retail prices to make sale prices look more attractive, then fired the CEO… Now some say that JCP is raising prices by upwards of 67% on some items, perhaps hoping that customers will use coupons to get deals (that aren’t really deals).

This is different than the recent supposed strategy of marking up a base retail price to make the “discounted” price seem like a good deal — say, listing a $50 sweater as $60, then “slashing” that price to $49.

According to the folks at DealNews, JCPenney appears to be simply jacking up the price on certain items without offering an immediate sale or discount on the item. For example, they found a stool that was selling at a retail price of $75 only a few weeks ago, but is now retailing at JCP for $125. Then there’s an end table that was retailing for $150 just last week but is now selling for $245 at JCP.

Both of these items are exclusives to JCPenney, so it’s possible the retailer has jacked up the prices knowing that consumers can’t comparison-shop for these exact items at other stores.

As DealNews points out, it’s also possible that JCP is hoping customers will use coupons, like the frequent 20% off discount code it offers. But shoppers need to be careful, because even with 20% off, these two products would still be significantly higher priced than they were before the price hikes.

For JCP’s more basic store brands — St. John’s Bay and Arizona — recent price increases have reportedly been around the 20% mark, meaning customers who use those popular 20% discount codes may be able to get items at the pre-hike prices.