J.C. Penney Co.'s (JCP) fight for survival now includes revamping some 50 hair salons to the brand The Salon by InStyle as it plans to eventually overhaul 750 of its salons.
The department store chain is one of a growing number of retailers paying special attention to customer experiences to lure shoppers back into stores. For example, Nike (NKE) also recently started installing in-store experiences such as small sports areas where customers can tryout footwear. And Coach (COH) is started monogramming services at some of its retail locations. The idea is to give customers a reason – other than browsing – to come into the store. (See also: Retail Empire Strikes Back with Onmichannel Strategies.)
J.C. Penney's new salons, which will debut this summer, aim to target a younger customer base and will include online scheduling. The retailer said it plans to hire some 4,000 stylists with an “industry-leading” package, including higher commissions, a more flexible schedule and greater opportunity for advancement. The salons' new furniture, graphic designs and photography will try to refresh energy.
"Providing customers with a compelling head-to-toe beauty solution is an important differentiator and growth strategy,” John Tighe, chief merchant for J.C. Penney, said in a statement. “It gives shoppers more reasons to visit a store and the personal, interactive experience inspires them to spend considerably more than the average customer.”
J.C. Penney said in February that it plans to close up to 140 of its less-cost-effective locations, or about 14% of its portfolio. It reported a 0.7 percent decline in same-store sales for the fourth quarter, and revenue of $3.96 billion, down from $4 billion the same quarter a year prior. (See also: J.C. Penney to Close up to 140 Stores.)
J.C. Penney shares are trading at the low end of a 52-week range of $5.45 to $11.30. The stock is down 30 percent year to date, and down 42 percent the past year.