J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (JCP) will start offering business-to-business services in the $200-billion hospitality industry in an effort to shore up market share in major appliances and soft home goods.

The Plano, Texas-based department store chain also said it wants to increase its revenue per customer with its renewed focus, what CEO Marvin R. Ellison called among the company’s “new and innovative ways to achieve sustainable growth and profitability” amid a tumultuous retail environment. (See also: J.C. Penney to Close Up to 140 Stores.)

“Our entry into the B2B program reinforces our home refresh initiative, while providing new and innovative ways to achieve sustainable growth and profitability,” said J.C. Penney CEO Marvin R. Ellison. J.C. Penney’s plan stemmed from the fact that their customer base included hotel operators who have been making large-volume purchases of bedding, bath and window treatments from JCPenney.com. Now, the department store will have an outside sales force targeting more of such customers to offer cost advantages. (See also: Ailing Department Stores Grasp for Solutions.)

In addition to the sheets, bedding and pillows that are in high demand by hotels, J.C. Penney also stocks uniforms, scrubs, and major appliances like refrigerators and microwaves that small businesses need.

J.C. Penney also announced it would expand it mattress showrooms to 300 more stores this year.

The retailer, hit hard by recent consumer spending trends toward online channels and toward travel and restaurants over apparel and accessories, is planning to close 138 stores this year. It reported dismal first-quarter earnings of 6 cents per share versus the analyst estimate of 21 cents per share, as same-store sales declined 3.5 percent from the year prior.

J.C. Penney shares are down 45.1 percent year to date, and down 39.8 percent the past year. 

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