Remembering J.C. Penney over the years

We all have fond memories of shopping at one of America’s great department stores, JCPenney. The company has a long history in America as it shaped how we shopped through the years.

In 1902, James Cash Penney opened the ‘Golden Rule Store’ in Kemmerer, Wyoming. The store operated under the premise of the ‘Golden Rule,’ to treat others as you would like to be treated.

Over the next decade, the store grew to 34 stores. In 1913, the company incorporated into the ‘J.C. Penney Co.’ and moved its headquarters to NYC. By the middle of the century, the company had passed 1 billion in sales. It was the largest retail organization in the world.

By the 1960s, the company began opening department stores selling through its official catalog. Founder James Cash Penney passed away in 1971 at the age of 95. During the 1980s, inflation and high-interest rates began to take a toll on earnings

The store began eliminating departments such as appliances, lawn and garden, and paint. Under poor leadership, sales and revenue continued to decline. By 2020, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Over the years, JCPenney helped Americans find housewares, fine jewelry, boys’ and girls’ clothing, bedding, shoes, and more. The beloved catalog became a huge part of American shopping before the advent of the Internet.

Most JCPenney stores were initially located in downtown areas, but as shopping malls grew in popularity during the 1960s, the chain began relocating and developing stores to anchor the malls. The company has been an Internet retailer since 1998 and has streamlined its catalog. Along with Sears, JCPenney was the primary way Americans shopped from the 60s through the 90s.

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