Archives for February 2012

JC Penney – Big Department Store wants to change

If you watch TV,  you have seen those annoying commercials for JC Penney.  People screaming “Noooooo!” as they are inundated with sale flyers and sale signs everywhere.  I do think the first scene is funny though,  a women looking at a large SALE sign that says “Yesterday only!”  – I can definitely relate!  So today, February 1, they are rolling out a new, simplified pricing system.  Calling it “Fair and Square Pricing”  No more sales!  Instead they are going to offer a simplified 3 price strategy.


Screenshot from the JC Penney website - Fair & Square Pricing


So what’s the deal?
JC Penney is getting rid of clearance sales, and instead offering Best Price deals on every first and third Friday of the month. (Not coincidentally, this is to coincide with many people’s paycheques).  They claim to offer lower prices daily, as well as special prices on certain items for the entire month.

Some other points include:

  • The new “Month Long Value” will feature certain items.  For example, in February it will feature jewellery and Valentine’s Day gifts; while Christmas decorations will be featured in November.  Apparently each month will even have its own colour, which will be reflected outside with their lighting fixtures.
  • Simplified costs.  No more 9.99 price tags.  Instead,  just a 9 or 10 dollar one. And while they used to pile stickers on price tags to show each time the item was marked down, every time there is a new price, it gets a new tag too. A red tag indicates an “Every Day” price, a white tag a “Month-Long Value” white tag and a “Best Price” blue tag.
  • Over the next 4 years, putting in Main Street, a series of up to 100 brand shops (similar to the Sephora ones) replace the dozens of racks common in department stores.  Some new partners are rumoured to be Martha Stewart and L’Amour by Nanette Lepore
  • New spokeswoman Ellen DeGeneres
  • A New, streamlined logo

The New JC Penney Logo


So I guess we will have to see how this works.   And if you haven’t seen those annoying commercials….  Here ya go!

Extreme Black Friday

TLC’s strangely addicting show “Extreme Couponing” recently aired a new special,  Midnight Madness (January 29).  It features more extreme couponers getting the best deals that they can on Black Friday.

The cast consisted of pregnant Angelique, mother of 8 April (aka the Coupon General), stay at home mom Jessica and Callie (aka the Cajun Couponer).  These women were prepared to do battle.  Jessica stated “I’m a very competitive person.  I don’t like to lose and so I am gonna shove myself up there and make sure I get the deal”; while Callie said that “It is every man for himself… when it comes to Black Friday, the gloves are off”.   One comment that disturbed me was from Jessica who said to her son: “Don’t be afraid to throw an elbow, or you know, kick them in the shin, trip them, I don’t care”.  It was hard to tell if this was said tongue-in-cheek,  but with the recent news of trampling, pepper spraying and other Black Friday craziness,  this seems really seemed inappropriate.

The episode contained a few Black Friday facts, like:
– In the past 5 years, Black Friday shopping has doubled.
– 58% of Black Friday shoppers are looking for consumer electronics.

And while most Black Friday (BF) shoppers already do these things,  there were some helpful hints to help strategize your next BF shopping trip.

  • * Look for preleaked sales and start writing a list.
  • * Set a spending limit  (you need to decide what works best for you.  Angelique brought only cash so she wouldn’t be tempted to add more to a debit or credit card).
  • * Recruit friends and family members to line up at different locations.  Some of the stores had deals (like Old Navy had arm bracelets to give out a free digital camera to customers purchasing $40 or more).  If you are going to a store like this,  you can have additional members get a bracelet and divide your transaction into smaller ones.
  • * Map your route out.  Jessica input her stores’ addresses into her GPS.  It didn’t work well for her on the show,  so you might want to make sure the store is where you think it is.  If you are unfamiliar with the mall you are going to,  you can map out your mall route beforehand as well.
  • * Schedule in potty breaks!
  • * Also bring some food and maybe a bottle of water with you (along with the chairs and blankets) if you are planning on shopping the whole day.
  • * Instead of the big box stores,  try checking out your local shops as well.  They might have great deals going on as well.
  • * Some stores hold back their deals until Thanksgiving Day.  Check the inserts that day to review the ads for changing.  Don’t forget some stores might have unadvertised deals, as well.
  • * It might be a good idea to bring along your ad inserts, in case an advertised item doesn’t scan correctly.  Not only do you want to be able to get in and out of every store quickly, you want to be considerate to other shoppers.  Having the inserts handy could mean it takes less time to check if it is the right item at the right price.


I don’t know how I feel about the changing scape of BF sales.  First stores started opening crazy early (like 5 and 6 AM).  Then it was 3 or 4 AM.  and now some are starting to open the night before around 10 or 11 PM and are open all night.  Do you think this takes away from the Thanksgiving holiday?  And let’s not forget the yearly horror stories.  Trampling, shootings and stabbings.

In this show, a few of the shoppers hiding items they wanted, before the sales (in boots, in handbags, in drawers and even hidden in the center of clothing rack).   One of the issues with this is,  what if someone purchased the boots or the handbag during that time?  What if she was arrested for trying to shoplift?  Not really great shopping etiquette.

As well,  Angelique cleared the shelves and bought more than her fair share of electric razors (she had a coupon that made them less than free).  I think she bought 19.  It is doubtful she will be using all 19 of them as Christmas presents.  More than likely, they ended up being sold on Craigslist or eBay.  I think that a large majority of this winds up for resale.  Its sad that 18 or so other people weren’t able to give those as gifts.


Did you watch the episode?  So what do you think?

Jason Wu for Target hits stores February 5

On February 5, 2012 – The newest Target Designer Collaboration, with JASON WU hits the stores!   Jason Wu sort of rose to fame due to his popularity with US First Lady Michelle Obama.  I have never actually been able to get a “for Target” item.  I usually plan to pick a few pieces up, but never get around to it.  I was most excited when the Rodarte collaboration in 2009 (I love Rodarte’s girly style!).

It made big news headlines last fall (september 13, 2011) when the Missoni for Target collection debuted, and the  collaboration between the mass retailer and the popular Italian fashion house, with their iconic zigzag patterns, was so popular it ended up crashing the Target website and many items were oversold.  Subsequently,  lots of customers had their orders cancelled, with many items ended up immediately on Ebay for up to five times their original cost!

So, are you planning on picking up any Jason Wu for target pieces this winter?   Here’s the commercial for the collection.


This collaboration is one in a long line of collections Target has done since the inception of the GO International program in 2006, aimed to make high-end designers available to the masses. All have been extremely popular.  Currently, the Josie Natori (of luxury lingerie fame) collection is available until February 23.