Longtime JCPenney shopper calls for retailer to ditch its pursuit of younger customers

Frumpy and proud of it! Longtime JCPenney shopper calls for retailer to ditch its pursuit of younger customers

Donna Jones from Mikado, Michigan, said she feels rejected by the store as it launches youth-oriented ad campaigns filled with celebrities and same-sex couples

|

UPDATED:

14:25 GMT, 11 June 2012

A longtime JCPenney customer is demanding that the store return to its 'frumpy' roots.

As the retail giant sets its sights on a younger demographic, Donna Jones, a mother of three from Mikado, Michigan, has expressed disapproval over the store's new range of clothing.

Ms Jones believes the store is working hard to 'de-frump' itself without 'considering that many, if not most, of its customers might have shopped there precisely because they like the more conservative look.'

Disappointed: Longtime customers of the retail giant JCPenney, such as Donna Jones (right), want the store to quit its attempts to 'de-frump' its clothing range. She thinks its current stock is not suitable for daughter Nicole Walen (left)

Disappointed: Longtime JCPenney customers, such as Donna Jones (right), want the store to quit its attempts to 'de-frump' its clothing range. She thinks its current stock is not suitable for daughter Nicole Walen (left)

The 46-year-old added that the clothes are not suitable for her 15-year-old daughter Nicole Walen, due to new revealing hemlines.

She
believes the clothing, particularly dresses made for teenagers such as
her daughter, has become more revealing over
the past six months.

She told The Huffington Post: 'Having too much skin showing on a pretty teenage girl is too
distracting, especially at church. [JCPenney] seemed to
be better about providing enough fabric than other stores that the
teenage girls tend to like to shop at.'

She added: 'Am I frumpy Probably. Does that bother me No, not at all.'

Ms Jones believed that the shift in target audience is thanks to the arrival of Ron Johnson, who was appointed chief executive officer last November.

Under the direction of Mr Johnson, the retailer has adopted new marketing strategies such as placing same-sex couples in multiple ad campaigns as well as supermodel Cindy Crawford in another.

New strategy: The store has recently aimed to attract younger shoppers through edgy fashion campaigns such as the above featuring supermodel Cindy Crawford (right), her mother (middle) and her daughter Kaia (left)

New strategy: The store has recently aimed to attract younger shoppers through edgy fashion campaigns such as the above featuring supermodel Cindy Crawford (right), her mother (middle) and her daughter Kaia (left)

Controversial: Another recent campaign used a same-sex couple (right) to promote the store's clothing

Controversial: Another recent campaign used a same-sex couple (right) to promote the store's clothing

Contemporary design collaborations
with the likes of Vivienne Tam and Cynthia Rowley have further hinted
that the store hopes to attract younger shoppers rather than older ones.

The ultimate indicator came when it
announced its forthcoming collaboration with Cosmopolitan magazine,
which will include bags, jewellery, lingerie and accessories no doubt
targeted at the teen market.

Ms Jones admitted that she avoids her local JCPenney store altogether these days.

Lynda H, a regular JCPenney customer from Texas, does not welcome the store's new attitude either.

'They are catering to the younger shopper and it isn't the younger shopper that kept them afloat,' she said.

The store announced that it will introduce a 'Main Street' section in many of its locations later this year, that will feature almost 100 separate branded stores inside its own store in an attempt to create a marketplace feel.

While the initiative will only be introduced at 'major metropolitan area' stores, the move is a combative one against one of its main competitors Target, which launched its similar Shop At Target concept last month.