JC Penney sees Home Services as Opportunity while Retailer Gordmans Shuts Down

Mensch 

Noun, informal. A decent, upright, mature and responsible person.

Schlemiel 

Noun, slang. An awkward, clumsy, or unlucky person whose endeavors tend to fail; a loser.

 


Mensch of the Week:

J.C. Penney

It’s no secret J.C. Penney has been struggling in recent years. With 140 stores on the chopping block, the retailer is looking for new ways to gain and retain business. The company recently announced that it will be branching into home remodel services.

This spring, the retailer will launch a 100-store test which will offer services such as installing blinds, awnings, water systems and smart home tech. The move will be branded as JCPenney  Home Services and will include six service groups planned for markets such as San Diego and Tampa. In addition to having an in-store presence, the information on the service groups will be available at the designated website jcpenneyhomeservices.com.

According to a Fortune article, this will put the retailer on the map with popular companies such as Home Depot and Lowe’s. However, bets are that it is more concerned with beating out rival Sears rather than becoming a top dog in the sector. With the most recent hhgregg bankruptcy, Penney may be able to fit a bit of need in the appliance and services market.

A recent report by Harvard University noted that the residential remodeling market reached $340B in 2015 – a recorded high for the sector. Additionally, the market is supposed to grow 2%  a year through 2025.

In order to minimize risk, Penney will team up with HVAC system supplier Trane and Samsung for its smart home products. The partnership will allow Penney to rent out space to the suppliers and nab a cut of their sales.

It’s no wonder Penney is moving this direction. After all, the company’s CEO Marvin Ellison’s 13 year history at The Home Depot.

Will the move into homes across the country work for the traditional retailer? We don’t know, but we’re impressed by the strategic move away from apparel.

 

 

Schlemiel of the Week:

Gordmans

It may just be the Millennial in me, or the fact that I’ve lived in urban metro areas for half of my life, but the name Gordmans just doesn’t ring a bell for me. It’s no wonder the department store chain has just announced that it will be shutting down.

At it to the list of many department store which have gone out of business over the last five years. Remember Loehmann’s? I spent many Saturdays sifting through bargain after bargain on high-end brands in that store! That is until the company went completely digital in 2014. The move saved the company from shutting down completely. The same can’t be said for Omaha-based Gordmans.

The chain plans to file for bankruptcy and hire Tiger Capital Group and Great American Group to spearhead the liquidation of sales of its inventory and additional assets. This agreement is subject to court approval or a better offer, according to Bloomberg.

Unfortunately, the retailer posted losses in five out of the past six quarters. Today, Gordmans has racked up a total company debt of $131M, according to its Chapter 11 papers filed on Monday.

Founded 102 years ago in 1915, Gordmans currently operates 106 stores across 22 states. Like Loehmann’s, the chain offers name brand apparel at discounted rates. In 2008, private equity firm Sun Capital Partners bought the chain. It went public two years later. The funds managed by Sun Capital holds about 49.6% of Gordmans’ equity. According to Bloomberg, vendors started to boycott shipping new inventory to the chain at the beginning of March.

Gormans currently employs 5,100 people. Yikes. While we feel deeply for those losing their jobs, we must point fingers at those in charge. Your competition adjusted, why didn’t you?