JCPenney, also called JCP or Penneys, was founded by James Cash Penney in 1902 as the Golden Rule Store. Penney bought out his 2 partners in 1907 and began calling the stores J.C. Penny in 1913. There were 35 stores at this time.
By 1917, there were 175 stores in 22 states. In 1924, the 500th store was opened. The 1000th store opened in 1928.
By 1941, JCPenney was operating in all lower 48 states. They were over 1600 stores.
In 1956, the chain began advertising nationwide in Life magazine. In 1959, the JCPenney credit card was launched.
In 1963, the JCPenney catalog was launched. The catalog portion of the business was not profitable until 1971.
In 1971, founder James Penney died.
In 1993, JCPenney became the largest catalog retailer in the US. In 2011, they closed their catalog business.
Today, the company operates over 1100 department stores in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Most locations are in suburban shopping malls.