Price isn’t everything. That’s what J. C. Penney Co. discovered when it asked shoppers in 16 cities what they wanted in a store. CEO Myron E. Ullman told students at Texas A&M University that he expected the answer to be about lower prices, but it turned out that little things that help with daily life are what’s most important to consumers.
Ullman spoke after receiving the 2007 M. B. Zale Visionary Merchant Award from the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School late last month.
This knowledge led J. C. Penney to its current tagline, “Every Day Matters.”
“This isn’t a story about a CEO at all,” Ullman said. “This is a story about teamwork, making a human connection with your associates, and in turn making a human connection with your consumers. Everybody wants to be part of something meaningful.”
Ullman was chosen for the award after moving the company’s stock price from $33 when he took the job in 2004 to $89 late last year when he announced plans to add 250 new stores within five years.
Describing retailing as a contact sport, Ullman said, “The customer votes every day based on what she finds and what she likes, and you better be there to provide that.”
Spoken like a veteran retailer.