Penney to expand major appliances to half of stores

NEW YORK (AP) – J.C. Penney says it’s expanding its rollout of major appliances to nearly 500 stores by this fall, or almost half of its stores.

The move comes after a successful test of offering major appliances in such products as washing machines and refrigerators in 22 markets in February.

Penney is looking to rebuild sales, particularly in the home area, after a catastrophic reinvention plan under former CEO Ron Johnson resulted in sales and profits in free fall in 2012 and 2013. Business has been stabilized since then. But revenue has still not returned to the pre-Johnson era.

The move also comes as department stores look to reinvent themselves as they wrestle with growing competition from online leader Amazon.com and growing competition from off-price stores like T.J. Maxx.

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