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Secret Sauce by Harry Mills

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Predict,Test, Learn

Lessons from J.C. Penney

J.C. Penney hires Apple’s marketing genius

In 2011 J.C. Penney, despite a brand history that stretched back 111 years and over 1000 stores dotted across the United States, was stagnating. It was no longer the store of choice for middle-income families. Revenues and profits in 2011 were down from what they had been 15 years earlier. Though profitable, Penney was losing ground to rivals like Macy’s and Kohls.

To lure customers, the fading brand became addicted to continuous sales and aggressive discounts, fueled by coupons. In 2011, the company ran a staggering 590 promotions. Seventy-two percent ...

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