GE to Beef Up DM for JCPenney Credit Card

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Financial services company GE Capital, Stamford CT, will launch an aggressive direct marketing effort for the JCPenney credit card, which it agreed to acquire from JCPenney Co. Inc., Plano, TX, last week. The acquisition includes all 11 of JCPenney's credit card service facilities. The terms were not disclosed.

GE Card Services manages the accounts of 70 million private-label credit card customers. The acquisition includes 35 million additional accounts, which accounted for $7.8 billion in sales last year.

GE Capital spokesman John Oliver said GE would work to improve the usage terms of the card and market it to new customers. Changes could include an adjustment in the interest rate and the ability to use the card at ATM machines.

"As it is, the card is plain vanilla," he said. "We will add all sorts of flavors."

Although GE will market other products to JCPenney card owners, it will not market the insurance products JCPenney already has, Oliver said. GE markets products to card owners through direct mail and statement inserts.

GE will temporarily maintain the 11 customer support centers, which employ 2,800 people. In a prepared statement, JCPenney said it will "evaluate the resources and facilities needed to support its business in the future."

The department store company said it would use the proceeds from the sale to reduce debt and set the stage for an initial public offering of a tracking stock for its Eckerd Drugstore chain.

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