JCPenney expects to return half a billion dollars to customers this year

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JCPenney might not be the retail powerhouse it once was, but the chain is hoping a new rewards program will expand its footprint once again—and it’s planning to put $500 million in incentives on the line in that effort.

The company on Wednesday announced a new Rewards and Credit Program that will offer customers its owner version of rival Kohl’s popular Kohl’s Cash incentive.

The JCPenney version is called CashPass and the chain says customers who sign up for the program will automatically get a $10 CashPass certificate, along with another on their birthday. Also, every time they spend $200, they’ll receive another $10 voucher. (JCPenney cardholders will rack up CashPass vouchers even quicker.)

Rewards will expire 45 days after they’re issued and can be stacked on top of other coupons. The company says it expects to deliver up to $500 million in rewards to members.

“We want every trip to JCPenney to be worth it,” said Katie Mullen, chief customer officer at JCPenney, in a statement. “Enhancing our Rewards Program is an important piece of how we bring value to our customers. … We want to continue to earn the loyalty of America’s diverse working families.”

The program, unlike loyalty efforts from Amazon and Walmart, will not carry an annual fee.

CashPass is separate from the $1 billion spending program JCPenney announced last year. That expenditure is focused on refreshing stores, improving operational efficiencies and potentially opening new stores, something the chain has done just once in the past eight years.

The storied retail chain filed for bankruptcy in May 2020, emerging from it at the end of that year, after it was bought out by Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management. Recovery has been slow, though. In the first nine months of 2023, the chain saw a reported loss of $12 million, compared to a $173 million profit during the same period the year before.

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