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In the Age of Coronavirus J.C. Penney Expands Curbside Pickup

By Daniel B. Kline - Mar 16, 2020 at 9:26AM

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The retailer wants customers to be able to shop without coming inside its stores.

Stopping the spread of coronavirus requires social distancing. That is, avoiding being around other people as much as possible. That's really bad news for retailers like J.C. Penney (JCPN.Q) that sell merchandise that's not entirely essential during the current crisis.

You can, of course, order from J.C. Penney online, but that involves waiting at least a couple of days. To eliminate that wait and facilitate shopping even while people can't visit its stores, the company has increased the rollout of its curbside pickup efforts.

The exterior of a J.C. Penney

J.C. Penney is adding curbside pickup to select locations. Image source: J.C. Penney.

What is J.C. Penney doing?

The retailer has expanded its "Style on the Go" curbside pickup to 50 new locations. This program was not created due to coronavirus -- it was piloted at the company's test store -- but it's increasingly relevant during the current crisis.

"Style on the Go Curbside Pickup is all about our customers and how they want to shop," said J.C. Penney Executive Vice President of Stores Jim DePaul in a press release. "As we continue to put our customers at the heart of everything we do, we continue to create engaging experiences across all touchpoints."

Will this help?

Give J.C. Penney points for trying, but it remains to be seen how much of the chain's clothing will be in demand while people go out much less and work from home. Convenience is something people want, and being able to pick up clothes without leaving the car gives people an option. But it probably does not create demand in the current climate.

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