JCPenney (NYSE: JCP) Gradually Hiking Prices Before Valentine's Day

on January 29 2014 1:36 PM
JCPenney store 6
A J.C. Penney storefront Reuters

Weeks after announcing more than 30 store closures, J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) is raising prices on inventory across the store, from jeans to kitchen appliances.

Markups will be especially high for jewelry in order to increase margins right in time for Valentine’s Day. JCP.com is advertising discounts of 40 percent to 60 percent on engagement rings, pendants and stud earrings, an increase from the 20 percent to 30 percent discounts advertised last year.

Mike Ullman, J.C. Penney’s CEO, has been trying to clean up the damage his predecessor Ron Johnson did to sales in 2012, when he ended the retailer’s signature coupons and clearance events to try to shift the retailer upmarket.

Prices on some jewelry have been hiked 40 percent, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

“They had us up all night changing the prices on everything,” a jewelry sales associate told the Post.

A half-carat diamond-and-white-gold ring on JCP.com was listed for $1,999.98 on Wednesday, a price increase of 60 percent from mid-December, when the ring was listed at $1,245 and discounted to $996.

Similarly, gold earrings selling for $160 a pair before Christmas, discounted from $200, were listed Wednesday at $449.98. That’s a 225 percent increase.

J.C. Penney doesn’t plan to hike prices on bedding and home décor.

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