JCPenney is in a period of major flux under CEO Ron Johnson, and its physical stores show the stark contrast between the old and the new.
Johnson's new shops — small, branded boutiques within the big department stores — are slowly rolling out, but the vast majority of the retailer's floor space is still filled with the "Old JCPenney."
So, what's JCPenney's secret weapon to spruce up the old parts of its stores?
Lots of mannequins — 40,000 of them.
"Customers don't know what to buy. They love a mannequin that shows you how to put the outfit together," JCPenney CCO Michael Fisher told Reuters. "We find anything we put on a mannequin sells out."
The whole idea of the store revamp is to make the place look more upscale. That means less ordinary and more specialty.
Johnson himself is a huge fan of mannequins too.
"I love the heavy use of mannequins, the focus on display. I like that every environment is pure," he told Bloomberg Businessweek.
" We’ve got teams that are dressing mannequins in a whole new way. Historically the merchant picked the mannequin. We now let the design teams do that, because they tend to mix things in a way that is really artful."
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