When you go to J.C. Penney what do you expect to see? Slacks, polos, shoes, and the other clothing store standards right? Maybe some microwaves and other small appliances too. Well soon you may be seeing HVAC systems sitting next to the tighty whities. Following the success of adding large home appliances like refrigerators and washing machines to their catalog in 2016, J.C. Penney’s CEO Marvin Ellison has set his sights on bringing HVAC into the fold. Ellison is no stranger to this world, coming from a senior executive position at Home Depot he knows how to navigate the large appliance market. This experience is needed in J.C. Penney’s management, the chain has not carried large appliances since 1983 when they shifted focus solely on apparel. With the struggling Sears dancing with bankruptcy, Ellison sees an opportunity for J.C. Penney to move in.
Picking up the pieces from Sears is one thing, but introducing HVAC is not going to be as easy. As Ellison is more than familiar with, companies like Home Depot already have a foothold in the market and are not facing the same struggles Sear is. J.C. Penney needed to bring in a strong name as a flagship to this new direction. This is were Trane came in. The longstanding player in the HVAC industry has partnered with J.C. Penney to not only provide them with products to sell, but to validate this new direction. Trane is not extensively carried by Home Depot and other similar stores, so there is no direct competition for J.C. Penney and plenty of room to grow.
The rollout of the HVAC pilot program will not see the same scale of adoption that the large appliance distribution had; only arriving in a slowing growing but small number of stores nation wide. At the time of writing, just select Florida, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas locations have been chosen to test the program. A full list of the specific locations can be found on the J.C. Penney website. This is a much more cautious approach than the large appliances’ launch which reached roughly half the J.C. Penneys nationwide in its first year.
So what do you think? Will J.C. Penney see success with this move or should they stick to clothes and appliances? Could you see yourself buying an HVAC system from a store like J.C. Penney? Let me know in the comments below.
While we do not carry Trane systems, be sure to visit SupplyHouse.com for all of your HVAC repair needs. We carry an extensive line of Trane Replacement Part to fix the units already installed and many other heating, plumbing, and HVAC products for all of your jobs.