History of JC Penny


J.C. Penney & Co. was founded in 1902 by James Cash Penney and William Henry McManus. Penny moved to Kemmerer in 1902 from Evanston to open dry goods store in the booming mining town.

He was born in Missouri, he worked for eight years in a Missouri dry goods store before moving to west.

The original name for the store that started J.C. Penney in the dry goods business was The Golden Rule.

By 1912 there were 34 Golden Rule stores, but the following year it was changed to JC Penney when Penney accepted a majority ownership of the chain, William McManus still being a partner.

In two year alone from 1915 to 1917 the company grew from 83 stores to 175. The chain expand rapidly as stores mangers were allowed to open new stores, keeping one quarter of the profits, as soon as they were successful.

This simple concept led the store massive expansion and making it the second-biggest retailer in the country by 1970.

The mother store is located in Kemmerer, Wyoming and still operates as of 2007.

During the postwar economic boom of the 1950s and 1960s, as many Americans move to suburbs, so did JC Penney, taken advantage of the retail space offered by the boom in shopping malls by becoming the anchor store in shopping stores across the country.


Today, most J.C. Penney stores are located in suburban shopping malls. Previously, most stores were located in downtown areas.

However, in recent years, the chain has been following a retailing trend in opening some standalone stores. The company is an Internet retailer and has undergone significant institutional changes to compete in the ever changing retail landscape.

It operates the nation’s largest general catalog business, as well as jcpenney.com, one of the largest apparel and home furnishings sites in the internet, with over $1 billion in annual sales.

Increased competition from big box retailers like Wal-Mart and Target have forced J.C. Penney to focus on private brands such as St. John's Bay, Worthington, nick(it) and Arizona Jean Company.
History of JC Penny
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