JCPenney to shut down catalog outlets

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Retailer JCPenney said January 24 that it will close five department stores and all 19 legacy catalog outlets in the next two years. The moves are part of the company's shift in strategy to invest more in its online offerings.

The retailer will also consolidate all call center operations into three facilities, closing two others. It will also shut down an underperforming home store and furniture outlet.

JCPenney is moving resources from physical stores and catalogs to online initiatives. Last September, the company said it will discontinue its catalog business in favor of “look books,” which refer customers to the company's e-commerce website. The brand also launched a Facebook e-commerce store last December.

“As we've seen customers moving more and more online, we're really following the customer,” said Tim Lyons, spokesperson for JCPenney. “As our chairman said, ‘we are not leaving the catalog business, our customers are.' These changes are in response to that.”

Lyons said that even as JCPenney closes catalog outlets, it will continue to use direct mail, primarily as a tool for multi-platform brand marketing to attract customers to its website or to place phone orders.

“It's incumbent upon businesses to look at how they're delivering value to their customers through multiple channels, so you see contraction in some areas, but growth in others,” said Scott Krugman, VP of PR at the National Retail Federation. “Retailers need to take a multichannel approach, and marketers should as well.”

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