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James “Cash Mob” Penney

Poor ol’ JC Penney can’t buy a break lately. They hired Ron Johnson from Apple to revitalize their marketing. They quickly settled on an approach to remake the customer experience with a thoughtful approach to pricing and periodic sales. But their sales are well below forecast and they have suspended their earnings guidance for investors based on a sizable sales volume drop.

Retraining customers who have grown up only buying on markdown has been neither easy nor swift. And it’s not being done in a vacuum – competitors are gleefully licking their chops at the prospect of carving off JCP shoppers for themselves, especially during the crucial Back-To-School period.

As their website proclaims, “Over 110 years ago, James Cash Penney founded his company on the principle of treating customers the way he wanted to be treated himself: fair and square. Today, rooted in its rich heritage, J. C. Penney Company, Inc. is re-imagining every aspect of its business in order to reclaim its birthright and become America’s favorite store.”

When was the last time you visited a JCPenney’s store? See for yourself what they are doing. I think that you’ll find the merchandising much improved, their pricing indeed “Fair and Square,” and their approach to brand curation – from Sephora to Levi’s to Liz Claiborne – a far cry from what JCP has been doing or what most other retailers are currently doing.

If you believe that they are now headed in the right direction, consider being part of a slow-rolling Cash Mob to save James Cash Penney’s namesake chain. Sure, they aren’t the typical target for local support but supporting a company that’s trying to shake up the retail world with more straight-forward pricing seems a worthy project to me.