July 26, 2012 / 7:33 PM / 6 years ago

J.C. Penney cuts out month-long sales to simplify prices

(Reuters) - J.C. Penney Co Inc (JCP.N) said on Thursday it will end month-long sales of certain items and cut some everyday prices to simplify pricing that it says has confused consumers.

Customers are helped at the J.C. Penney store in Westminster, Colorado February 20, 2009. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

This leaves the company with just two price levels - everyday and clearance.

J.C. Penney has been trying to overhaul its pricing under new Chief Executive Ron Johnson to wean customers off the steady stream of coupons and promotions that shoppers had come to expect.

But changing the pricing while trying to change its merchandise and store formats contributed to a worse-than-expected 18.9 percent drop in sales at stores open at least a year during the first quarter.

Johnson said at the time that the new pricing had not been properly explained to consumers and Michael Francis, the executive brought in from Target Corp (TGT.N) to oversee marketing and merchandising last year, left the company shortly after.

The company will also start promoting its program to match lower prices at competitors on identical items, spokeswoman Kate Coultas said.

Coultas would not say how much the company will be cutting the everyday prices on some items. The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the elimination of the month-long deals on Thursday, said prices on some merchandise would be cut by 20 to 29 percent.

J.C. Penney shares rose 17 cents to $22.17 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Reporting By Brad Dorfman; Editing by Richard Chang

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