The little department store that could?

It’s silly to have sympathy for a multimillion dollar national company, but I feel sorry for JC Penney.

They’ve been struggling to reinvent themselves for a year now and they are trying so hard that I find myself rooting for them.

It helps that their reinvented look appeals to me as a consumer.

I like their new ads. The flyers look more like magazine layouts than newspaper inserts and the television ads are colorful, cute and clever. At least as clever as a tv ad for a department store can be.

I like the look of the store now too. It’s spacious and clean.

And the whole “low price / no coupons” thing is a good idea too.

I hate lugging around coupons, trying to figure out what 20% of 34.99 is and then subtract it. Or searching for one of those little cheat sheet discount charts.

One low, clearly labeled price for one month makes much more sense.

The trouble with all this is that I’m not a JC Penney customer.

I might love the merchandising and advertising, but it doesn’t change the fact that the local store has a tiny plus-size section and all the clothes are made for either 15 year olds or 85 year olds.

Yesterday, I saw a lavender polyester pant suit, the kind with the permanent seam stitched up the front of the leg next to a glow-in-the-dark orange one-shoulder cropped t-shirt.

Hopefully they weren’t meant to go together.

Despite the company’s efforts, teenagers and old ladies are their customers and they seem to prefer coupons and stores with more stuff in them.

You have to JCP credit though. They keep trying. They are the little engine that could of department stores.

The latest tactic is to put little shops in their stores. Our local store has a small Sephora and now Joe Fresh is making its first American appearance in some stores.

I hope it works. And I’ll keep rooting for them even if I don’t want any purple pant suits or one-shoulder shirts.

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