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J.C. Penney to Deliver More Discounts Sooner This Holiday

J.C. Penney is determined to make wallets smile this holiday.

The department store chain today announced its promotional plans for the end of the year, which essentially allows customers to make their own Black Friday—and the deals start even earlier than last year.

While the day after Thanksgiving may have lost its dominance over the holiday season—shopping on that once make-or-break day is down 25 percent since 2015 alone, according to PwC—JCP is hoping the moniker “Black Friday” still gets discount-obsessed shoppers’ hearts racing.

The retailer has applied “Black Friday” to sales on an array of dates, starting Nov. 16 to 18 when consumers can get Black Friday prices on select items throughout the store. Online shoppers need not fret, JCP will offer special pricing on goods online during the four days leading up to the day after Thanksgiving. For those who want their turkey with a side of retail therapy, JCP stores will be open at 2 p.m. on the holiday. The discount bonanza will cap off with 100,000 Cyber Monday deals, which you guessed it, will run for five days in store and online beginning on Saturday, Nov. 25. Online shoppers will also enjoy free shipping on orders of $25 or more.

[Learn more about how the holidays are likely to shape up.]

Why the focus on deals?

About 60 percent of shoppers ages 13 to 35 rank price as the No. 1 motivating factor when making a purchase, PwC reports. And while the price might be right, some also need the boost of a discount to seal the deal.

And Penney’s isn’t the only store vying for these demanding shoppers. The biggest competitor, of course, is Amazon, which last year offered 35 days of deals, meaning Black Friday ran from the Friday after Thanksgiving to Christmas Day.

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JCP shoppers will be greeted with deals like large screen smart TVs for $499.99, Google Home smart speakers for $79.99, Hatchimals for $39.99 and pajama pants for $5.

“The point is to come in and be surprised with Penney’s prices,” Marci Grebstein, Penney’s chief marketing officer, told the Dallas News. “We know people have a budget in mind, and it’s always a challenge not to overspend this time of year.”

The company’s holiday advertising campaign starts today with a series of five TV ads featuring real JCP shoppers discovering how much less they’re likely to spend this year compared to last thanks to the retailers’ competitive pricing.

JCP is also taking to social with its #JCPchallenge hashtag, which it hopes shoppers will use to show off their purchases and/or receipts.

The efforts need to work for Penney’s which has been suffering right along with its department store brethren of late. Last week, the retailer announced a realignment of its merchandising team following an early warning that Q3 numbers are likely to be a miss after deep liquidation efforts to move out underperforming goods.

Only time will tell if the attempt to listen to customers and buddy up to their wallets will be enough to get the stores through the holidays.

“There’s a chance Penney will do OK during the holiday season because shopping patterns are different this time of year,” Liz Dunn, retail consultant and founder of Pro4ma Inc., told the publication. “There’s a whole group of shoppers, older ones, too, that come out this time of year to buy gifts.”