We shopped at Macy's and JCPenney to see which department store is better - and the winner was overwhelmingly clear
Bethany Biron/Business Insider
- Department stores have been among the hardest hit in the ongoing retail apocalypse, as retailers continue to struggle against falling sales and declining foot traffic.
- While both Macy's and JCPenney have been quietly shuttering stores in a move toward reconsolidation, Macy's is showing that its renovation efforts and investment in experiential retail is starting to pay off.
- We visited Macy's and JCPenney stores in New York City and saw that while Macy's is finding a way to reinvent its brick-and-mortar strategy, JCPenney is failing to innovate.
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However, as department stores across the industry continue to face the chopping block, Macy's efforts to reinvent its physical stores is starting to translate to sales while its peers continue to slip into ruin. The department store reported stronger than expected sales for the first quarter of 2019, with same-store sales increasing by 0.7%, thanks to in-store renovations, improved e-commerce, and experimenting with pop-up concepts.
Meanwhile, JCPenney can't seem to find its footing amid a constantly fluctuating leadership team and its struggle to align with a cohesive brand identity. In the first quarter of 2019, JCPenney reported that same-store sales decreased by 5.5% and that it planned to shutter an additional 27 stores before the end of the year.
We visited Macy's and JCPenney stores located near each other in midtown Manhattan and saw that while Macy's is finding a way to breathe new life into the brand, JCPenney is teetering on the brink of collapse.