First New JCPenney In 8 Years Opens

Predicting the demise of Sears & Kmart since 2017!
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Re: First New JCPenney In 8 Years Opens

Post by ClownLoach »

storewanderer wrote: April 12th, 2024, 12:44 am
ClownLoach wrote: April 11th, 2024, 9:58 am

Macy's runs a version of the same system Target did up until a couple years ago when they switched to their in house developed "App Style" register designed to reduce training time for cashiers as it looks and works like a smartphone app. Macy's registers are lightning fast in most stores, but I've seen some that do take forever to process credit cards and such which I chalk up to their internet. They do add serial number tags on items where they aren't pre-printed but these days they seldom have to manually apply the sticker, they just scan the first and second barcode without any delay.

I learned the hard way old shopping center buildings frequently do not have modern high speed internet options available to them. The providers subsidize the costs of consumer service by charging businesses much more. I have had 60 year old buildings where they were still running impossibly slow DSL lines up to 2020, and the phone company wanted $25K to run fiber to the building. If it was your house they'd gladly run the fiber for free as long as it was in your neighborhood. Cell reception wasn't adequate for a backup like a Verizon or T-Mobile cellular data line. Those situations translate to very slow registers in old buildings that cannot get an adequate broadband connection. AT&T (in old SBC and Pacific Bell areas) is especially horrible about these charges to upgrade shopping centers, malls etc. and in some areas has monopoly agreements that the cable companies can't run a line to the stores. Old relics of the Bell System before the breakup that live today. In these cases the stores would be better off potentially using a Square or Clover payment system that connects to cellular and only has to process credit cards, but then they would have to pay for that processing and they wouldn't have the payment data linked to the transaction on the register.
Only some Macys locations do the return barcodes on products. That isn't a chainwide thing. Also some items are exempt from the return barcodes.

Their pinpad seems to take forever once you bypass Star Rewards or even if you input it and hangs on "processing" forever. Then once the cashier finishes scanning and totals and tries to send the transaction to the pinpad there seems to be a 10+ second delay to get the pinpad to turn on then it asks for a donation before finally allowing you to run a third party credit or debit card to pay. Their registers are very old NCR units. I think I've seen some with IBM/Toshiba hardware running that same software (may have been a Bloomingdales).

I have noticed the Macys checkout process is MUCH faster for customers who are paying with a Macys card. Due to wanting to collect the swipe at the start of transaction for Star Rewards and also due to eliminating all of the questions they ask it does go much faster for those customers as long as they have a physical card they are using.

Dillards seems to do manual return barcodes on every item. Another very old slow system is used there. They recently turned on tap. They are performing AVS zip code on American Express and Mastercard transactions (but not on Visa). Not a great process.
I've never seen a Macy's anywhere in the country that doesn't do the return barcodes. However most of the product has them factory applied so that they don't have to manually affix a label unless it won't scan or was previously returned. Macy's specifically mentions that the return barcode is like a gift receipt that can be used nationwide at every store. However it doesn't get used for online orders, or at least it didn't last few times I ordered online so they had to manually override the returns system that was expecting a barcode that was non existent.
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Re: First New JCPenney In 8 Years Opens

Post by storewanderer »

ClownLoach wrote: April 13th, 2024, 9:05 am

I've never seen a Macy's anywhere in the country that doesn't do the return barcodes. However most of the product has them factory applied so that they don't have to manually affix a label unless it won't scan or was previously returned. Macy's specifically mentions that the return barcode is like a gift receipt that can be used nationwide at every store. However it doesn't get used for online orders, or at least it didn't last few times I ordered online so they had to manually override the returns system that was expecting a barcode that was non existent.
Some Macy's never used return barcodes on most items. This varied by region. Departments like jewelry or dresses may have used them in a store where other departments did not use them. They can program the system by item/department to require a return barcode to be assigned to the item or not.

In Reno from about 2014-2016 they quit using the return barcodes entirely except in jewelry or dresses. It was strange as the stores in Sacramento were still using them. Even on those items that had the return barcode as part of the product tag they did not scan the return barcodes when selling merchandise. Since then some items get a return barcode and some items do not. It is no longer a storewide thing.

They can easily override the system prompt that expects a return barcode when no return barcode was assigned to that item, it is just a bypass, and it goes right through when no barcode was assigned to the item. In the case where you return an item that had a return barcode assigned to it but the barcode is missing that is what can require an actual manager override.

I like the return barcodes, because ideally they make it so you don't need to keep a receipt. They also make it very easy for a gift to be returned. However there was a time period where some Macys region (maybe back around 2007 or 2008) decided to start giving customers who returned items with a return barcode and without a receipt the lowest sale price in the past 180 days, not the price paid for the item. This wasn't really right in my opinion. That didn't last long.
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Re: First New JCPenney In 8 Years Opens

Post by Super S »

ClownLoach wrote: April 9th, 2024, 4:24 pm
Alpha8472 wrote: April 8th, 2024, 8:25 pm
The issue is the central checkout where the single line is so long, it makes customers just dump their merchandise and leave the store.
Totally agree, there is something fundamentally wrong with the JCPenney systems and processes because a queue line should not cause this issue. If anything it should prevent the old problem of getting in line behind the "wrong customer" who has some sort of complications. I have observed the same issue where for some inexplicable reason many of their transactions take forever, causing lines to build. Couple that with understaffed stores with too many visible employees that apparently do not ring on the register. Macy's does not have this problem nor does Kohl's and both slow down their process by trying to push credit cards and loyalty programs. I am not sure what transactions are the ones causing the issue, but I have noticed that they accept credit card payments at every register and those seem to be problematic. I always see at least one employee stuck on the phone trying to do something for a customer at JCPenney, unsure if it's credit lookup or what. They all seem to be able to perform markdowns without a manager present, unlike Macy's where most cashiers are very limited in their security clearance. They need to identify what exact type of transaction slows these lines and move it elsewhere, not sure if that's returns, online pickups or credit applications. Sorry but checkout needs to be fast and if you have to find where the return desk is hidden behind the pole on the 3rd floor back corner it is what it is. It's been a while since my last purchase at JCPenney but I recall the register transaction taking much longer than I would have expected, and it appeared that the cashier had to enter their username and password at the start of every single transaction.
I have said this before and I will say it again. JCPenney needs to have a dedicated customer service desk area for returns, exchanges, etc. I have personally left merchandise behind more than once at JCPenney (at newer locations with central checkout as well as older locations where only one register on a floor is open) because there was only one cashier, and the register was clogged up due to a person doing a large number of returns and slowing things down. JCPenney does enough volume to justify a separate area.

Aside from that, the checkout is usually straightforward.
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Re: First New JCPenney In 8 Years Opens

Post by storewanderer »

Super S wrote: April 13th, 2024, 11:27 am

I have said this before and I will say it again. JCPenney needs to have a dedicated customer service desk area for returns, exchanges, etc. I have personally left merchandise behind more than once at JCPenney (at newer locations with central checkout as well as older locations where only one register on a floor is open) because there was only one cashier, and the register was clogged up due to a person doing a large number of returns and slowing things down. JCPenney does enough volume to justify a separate area.

Aside from that, the checkout is usually straightforward.
They already have this. Returns have to be processed at what used to be the catalog desk. At least that is how all of the stores in my area have become.

Maybe some smaller stores are doing something different but Carson City is a fairly small store and this is how it works there.

Reno is a full large mall store and that is how it works there.
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Re: First New JCPenney In 8 Years Opens

Post by ClownLoach »

storewanderer wrote: April 13th, 2024, 10:53 am
ClownLoach wrote: April 13th, 2024, 9:05 am

I've never seen a Macy's anywhere in the country that doesn't do the return barcodes. However most of the product has them factory applied so that they don't have to manually affix a label unless it won't scan or was previously returned. Macy's specifically mentions that the return barcode is like a gift receipt that can be used nationwide at every store. However it doesn't get used for online orders, or at least it didn't last few times I ordered online so they had to manually override the returns system that was expecting a barcode that was non existent.
Some Macy's never used return barcodes on most items. This varied by region. Departments like jewelry or dresses may have used them in a store where other departments did not use them. They can program the system by item/department to require a return barcode to be assigned to the item or not.

In Reno from about 2014-2016 they quit using the return barcodes entirely except in jewelry or dresses. It was strange as the stores in Sacramento were still using them. Even on those items that had the return barcode as part of the product tag they did not scan the return barcodes when selling merchandise. Since then some items get a return barcode and some items do not. It is no longer a storewide thing.

They can easily override the system prompt that expects a return barcode when no return barcode was assigned to that item, it is just a bypass, and it goes right through when no barcode was assigned to the item. In the case where you return an item that had a return barcode assigned to it but the barcode is missing that is what can require an actual manager override.

I like the return barcodes, because ideally they make it so you don't need to keep a receipt. They also make it very easy for a gift to be returned. However there was a time period where some Macys region (maybe back around 2007 or 2008) decided to start giving customers who returned items with a return barcode and without a receipt the lowest sale price in the past 180 days, not the price paid for the item. This wasn't really right in my opinion. That didn't last long.
This sounds like a one-off where the store isn't following the policy. Maybe a manager who didn't care and wanted to save labor. Can't explain the case of the no receipt return, that is just plain wrong and I would have demanded the full price paid even if I had to raise hell and get the District Manager on the line.
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Re: First New JCPenney In 8 Years Opens

Post by storewanderer »

ClownLoach wrote: April 13th, 2024, 11:22 pm
storewanderer wrote: April 13th, 2024, 10:53 am
ClownLoach wrote: April 13th, 2024, 9:05 am

I've never seen a Macy's anywhere in the country that doesn't do the return barcodes. However most of the product has them factory applied so that they don't have to manually affix a label unless it won't scan or was previously returned. Macy's specifically mentions that the return barcode is like a gift receipt that can be used nationwide at every store. However it doesn't get used for online orders, or at least it didn't last few times I ordered online so they had to manually override the returns system that was expecting a barcode that was non existent.
Some Macy's never used return barcodes on most items. This varied by region. Departments like jewelry or dresses may have used them in a store where other departments did not use them. They can program the system by item/department to require a return barcode to be assigned to the item or not.

In Reno from about 2014-2016 they quit using the return barcodes entirely except in jewelry or dresses. It was strange as the stores in Sacramento were still using them. Even on those items that had the return barcode as part of the product tag they did not scan the return barcodes when selling merchandise. Since then some items get a return barcode and some items do not. It is no longer a storewide thing.

They can easily override the system prompt that expects a return barcode when no return barcode was assigned to that item, it is just a bypass, and it goes right through when no barcode was assigned to the item. In the case where you return an item that had a return barcode assigned to it but the barcode is missing that is what can require an actual manager override.

I like the return barcodes, because ideally they make it so you don't need to keep a receipt. They also make it very easy for a gift to be returned. However there was a time period where some Macys region (maybe back around 2007 or 2008) decided to start giving customers who returned items with a return barcode and without a receipt the lowest sale price in the past 180 days, not the price paid for the item. This wasn't really right in my opinion. That didn't last long.
This sounds like a one-off where the store isn't following the policy. Maybe a manager who didn't care and wanted to save labor. Can't explain the case of the no receipt return, that is just plain wrong and I would have demanded the full price paid even if I had to raise hell and get the District Manager on the line.
They eliminated the return barcodes, it was not a store level decision, it was a corporate decision in one of their numerous restructurings/regional realignments. There was a fight to keep them in high fraud areas and that is why they were kept in CA.

The POS system was literally updated to just let them scan scan scan items. No more "scan item" then "scan return barcode." I was really confused when I purchased some items because they didn't put any return barcodes on them. They explained to me they went away at that location. I looked up Macys return policy online at the time and it referred to return barcodes "used at select stores." I ended up returning one of those items down in Sacramento and they were going to refuse the return until I showed them how on the receipt that it did not print a return barcode line under the item and they put it through and had no issue bypassing the prompt for a return barcode.
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Re: First New JCPenney In 8 Years Opens

Post by TheBigSmall »

Brookfield essentially brought in JCPenney because they wanted to fill out their Anchors at Willowbrook Mall.
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Re: First New JCPenney In 8 Years Opens

Post by ClownLoach »

TheBigSmall wrote: April 18th, 2024, 12:07 pm Brookfield essentially brought in JCPenney because they wanted to fill out their Anchors at Willowbrook Mall.
Brookfield and Simon essentially bought JCPenney to keep their anchors full nationwide. If JCPenney closed it would have bankrupted Brookfield, Simon, and others as mall rents are contingent on anchor spaces being occupied. Tenants may see rents reduced by as much as 90% if the anchors required in their lease close. New leases generally don't have these carve outs, but at the time of the JCPenney bankruptcy it was cheaper to spend a billion or so to buy it then lose several billion each year in rent concessions. JCPenney is basically an outlet mall in a department store building now selling the same Authentic Brands corporation made-for-outlet product. I expect that any future Brookfield mall where JCPenney isn't present and a Macy's or other department store closes will see a "new" JCPenney open there immediately too. Again even if the JCPenney store loses money it will be less of a loss than they will incur on rent concessions for absent anchor business. Once all the leases are cycled through and nobody has these large penalties for absent anchors anymore then I expect we will see Brookfield and Simon sell their interests in JCPenney to private equity or someone else who will gradually wind it down like Sears by selling off the real estate a store at a time for redevelopment into other chains, food courts, markets like Whole Foods, etc. I am also noticing that the various Authentic Brands owned outlet stores are clearing out of the outlet malls now to drive more business to JCPenney stores that carry the same product already too. Many outlet malls are in better quality tourist areas where they can be redeveloped into hotels and resorts. I expect to see some of the outlet malls like Carlsbad close in the next few years and become apartments, hotels etc.
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Re: First New JCPenney In 8 Years Opens

Post by pseudo3d »

ClownLoach wrote: April 18th, 2024, 3:40 pm Once all the leases are cycled through and nobody has these large penalties for absent anchors anymore then I expect we will see Brookfield and Simon sell their interests in JCPenney to private equity or someone else who will gradually wind it down like Sears by selling off the real estate a store at a time for redevelopment into other chains, food courts, markets like Whole Foods, etc. I am also noticing that the various Authentic Brands owned outlet stores are clearing out of the outlet malls now to drive more business to JCPenney stores that carry the same product already too. Many outlet malls are in better quality tourist areas where they can be redeveloped into hotels and resorts. I expect to see some of the outlet malls like Carlsbad close in the next few years and become apartments, hotels etc.
Sears owned its properties (not leased) and could’ve been with us still if Lampert hadn’t stripped it of maintenance, buyers, and literally everything else that made it function properly. Take care of JCPenney and they'll do fine.
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Re: First New JCPenney In 8 Years Opens

Post by ClownLoach »

pseudo3d wrote: April 18th, 2024, 5:18 pm
ClownLoach wrote: April 18th, 2024, 3:40 pm Once all the leases are cycled through and nobody has these large penalties for absent anchors anymore then I expect we will see Brookfield and Simon sell their interests in JCPenney to private equity or someone else who will gradually wind it down like Sears by selling off the real estate a store at a time for redevelopment into other chains, food courts, markets like Whole Foods, etc. I am also noticing that the various Authentic Brands owned outlet stores are clearing out of the outlet malls now to drive more business to JCPenney stores that carry the same product already too. Many outlet malls are in better quality tourist areas where they can be redeveloped into hotels and resorts. I expect to see some of the outlet malls like Carlsbad close in the next few years and become apartments, hotels etc.
Sears owned its properties (not leased) and could’ve been with us still if Lampert hadn’t stripped it of maintenance, buyers, and literally everything else that made it function properly. Take care of JCPenney and they'll do fine.
Many of the JCPenney properties are owned as well, but mall anchor agreements make them a required tenant for shops inside the mall. By acquiring the JCPenney company they did get whatever real estate they owned as well. The point is this was a Hail Mary thrown by Simon and Brookfield to prevent their own bankruptcies. The losses from mall tenant rent concessions that would have affected most of their properties after JCPenney liquidated would have bankrupted both companies within months. They couldn't see up to 90% of their revenue disappear overnight and survive. Thus they had to take over JCPenney whether they wanted to or not.

I am not convinced JCPenney is doing fine at all under this ownership. I doubt it is actually profitable although it is easy to shuffle the deck when you're the landlord and the tenant and create whatever image Wall Street wants to see. The better stores in better malls are, but the "B" and "C" mall JCPenney stores look like they are basically phoning it in with limited inventory and racks spread wide apart like Sears. They are likely operating at a loss and keeping the doors open only to prevent having to accept contracted rent concessions. As soon as the majority of the mall tenants with co-tenant clauses have cycled or moved, and they no longer have to maintain the open JCPenney to protect their income they will slam the doors shut so fast it will make heads spin. This is not a serious endeavor by Simon and Brookfield, it is an attempt to cover themselves and survive the bad lease contacts they signed for decades. It is a glorified pop up tenant.
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