What JCPenney Is Doing Differently This Back-to-School Season

JCPenney’s back-to-school shopping season is going to look different this year.

The department store — which is currently navigating bankruptcy proceedings amid the coronavirus pandemic — has announced plans to introduce new merchandise and deep discounts for families whose children are either heading back to classrooms or distance-learning from home.

In anticipation of the back-to-school season, JCPenney has curated look books on its website featuring a selection of merchandise for boys and girls. Some of the footwear brands included in the mix are Nike, Adidas, Skechers and Puma, as well as shirts from Champion, jeans from Levi’s and face masks by Olivia Miller.

What’s more, the company is also offering an extra 30% off for online customers. Those who prefer to shop in stores will have the chance to save 30%, 40% or 50% as part of its Mystery Sale event from Aug. 7 through Aug. 9 — coinciding with tax-free weekends in Florida, Iowa, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. (Employees will hand out peel-and-reveal coupons at JCPenney’s outposts.)

“This year, instead of following the traditional back-to-school model, we’re taking a more holistic approach to the season,” chief merchandising officer Michelle Wlazlo said in a statement. “Summer growth spurts can mean more than new clothes or shoes — they can mean a bigger bed or new age-appropriate activities or electronics.”

JCPenney is reassuring shoppers at its physical locations that it has taken a number of precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19: It has required face masks for both employees and customers, enhanced the cleaning of high-touch surfaces, installed plexiglass at registers and put up signs that encourage social distancing. It also said it would hold back tried-on merchandise from the selling floor for at least 24 hours and is offering contactless checkout options through its mobile app as well as curbside pickup at all stores.

“Purchase habits are more about an evolution, and we’re helping our customers manage that,” Wlazlo added. “We’re primed to get students ready for the upcoming year with options for a variety of occasions during these uncertain times.”

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