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 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.
In January 2016, JCPenney announced plans to relaunch its business of selling major appliances for kitchens and laundry rooms. The company moved away from selling major appliances in 1983, but it now planned to return to this business in an effort to target a wave of millennials who are buying first-time homes or apartments and need basic appliances.
In February of 2017, JCPenney announced that it would close down two distribution centers and up to 140 underperforming stores as it wrestles with disappointing sales. The company also planned to offer buyouts for roughly 6,000 employees.
At the end of 2017, JCPenney’s rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a disappointing 1.08 out of 5 stars based on customer reviews and a BBB Rating of F. The company’s ConsumerAffairs.com rating is 1 out of 5 stars based on 259 reviews submitted in the past 12 months. Most of the low ratings are attributed to poor customer service.
Forbes has also said in an article dated May 2018 that although Penny’s has great plans for the future, their stock is down 10% due to lack of confidence. Penny’s ranked a poor 33 out of a possible 100 rating for “Financial Health” from RapidRatings, indicating that the company might be in serious financial straits.
At its peak, the company operated over 2,000 department stores in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Today, the company has approximately 850 locations, as of 2017, in 49 states. In 2016, the company had annual revenue of$12.547 billion.