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After 1.6 million haircuts proved the success of J.C. Penney’s (NYSE:JCP) free haircut program for elementary-school-aged children, the struggling clothing retailer decided to make the promotion a permanent offer every Sunday starting November 4th.
The decision comes as part of CEO Ron Johnson’s attempt to revitalize the chain and transform the business in all areas, from pricing to customer experience. For two straight quarters, the Plano, Texas-based company has faced plummeting sales and reduced traffic as shoppers, accustomed to huge sales, look to discount retailers Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Target (NYSE:TGT) for their purchases. The new pricing policy, implemented February 1, eliminated hundreds of yearly sales in favor of daily prices that are 40 percent lower than last year.
August’s offer of free haircuts for children in grades kindergarten through sixth was designed to help bring new customers into the store and educate existing customers to the changes in its pricing strategy.
“It definitely drove new people and reintroduced J.C. Penney to existing customers,” said senior vice president of Penney’s salon services Jan Hodges in a statement. J.C. Penney officials also see the free haircut program as fitting into the company’s mission of helping its customers live better. Hodges noted the program helped “stretch families budgets.”
Whether or not the free haircut promotion will increase customer traffic, J.C. Penney must still battle its second-quarter loss of $147 million and stock prices that have fallen 18 percent since the beginning of the year.
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