J.C. Penney assistant store director Scott Lancaster, left, and store director John Gorman, right, talk to Tupelo store employees before Friday’s ribbon cutting and grand opening of the appliance department.
It’s back to the future for J.C. Penney, which is reintroducing appliances to sell at some of its stores across the country.
That includes the The Mall at Barnes Crossing location, which set aside a 1,000-square-foot space to accommodate GE, LG and Samsung refrigerators, washers, dryers, and ranges.
A grand opening was held at the store Friday.
“Selling appliances is more for the customers than anything else,” said appliance specialist Brandon Fulghum. “We have about 16 models here, but some 1,300 online that are offered that can be delivered anywhere.”
The Tupelo store is one of 100 locations getting appliance departments this year, bringing the total to 600. Penney has about 1,000 stores nationwide, including about 600 in malls and another 400 in standalone locations.
J.C. Penney, like many department stores, once sold appliances and other household items at one time but got out of the business in the 1980s. But the company, which is hoping to boost sales and profit, thinks adding appliances will give shoppers another opportunity to buy from them.
For the Tupelo location, which added three employees for the appliance department and is hiring another, expanding its selection is a good sign.
Five Mississippi J.C. Penney stores were among the 138 stores nationwide that the company announced earlier this year that it would close, including Columbus, Corinth, Greenville, Meridian and Oxford locations. Liquidation sales will begin Monday and the stores will be closed by July 31.
The Tupelo store underwent a $1.5 million renovation in 2011 that widened the aisles, added a new salon and customer service center. In 2012, a 1,700-square-foot Sephora store opened inside the store.
READ MORE in Saturday’s Daily Journal.