With appliance and electronics retailer hhgregg wrapping up its going-out-of-business liquidation at Columbus Park Crossing — and Sears now long gone from the local market — the JCPenney department store at Peachtree Mall is preparing to fill a portion of that void.
The store at 3131 Manchester Expressway plans to begin selling major appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, washers and dryers in the coming weeks after an area in the back of the store, near the salon, is expanded for the line of products. A sign hanging in the area is now informing customers of the new department that’s on the way.
The local move follows a pilot test in February 2016 by Plano, Texas-based JCPenney to expand its business into brick-and-mortar appliance sales to boost revenues. It later made the decision to push forward with the appliance expansion via www.jcp.com and at several hundred stores across the country, with the rollout beginning last summer.
Another 100 stores are now preparing to open appliance departments that will include brands such as Samsung, LG, Hotpoint and GE. Those include the JCPenney location at Georgia Square Mall in Athens, Ga., which reportedly began selling kitchen and laundry appliances last weekend.
“We are taking steps to grow our business by introducing new brands, products and categories where our customers have shown us that there is a clear demand,” JCPenney Chief Executive Officer Marvin Ellison said just before the major appliance launch. The company also has put a renewed emphasis on home goods in general, with it years ago garnering a third of the U.S. window treatment market.
The latest push on the appliance front comes with JCPenney announcing earlier this year that it was closing as many as 140 underperforming stores nationally. The Columbus store, which the company has invested in through the years, was not among those shuttered and now will be adding appliances to its traditional apparel, jewelry and home goods departments. It also has a Sephora beauty store inside.
Sears Holdings closed the Columbus Park Crossing location in late March, along with two of the three remaining Kmart discount stores in the Columbus-Phenix City market.
The hhgregg location at 6499 Whittlesey Blvd. began its liquidation sale just over a month ago. The bankrupt company has not said how long the liquidation will last before the store goes dark, although it is believed to be targeting the Memorial Day holiday weekend for the conclusion of its final sale. The chain is now advertising discounts between 30 percent and 60 percent.
With Sears and hhgregg out of the Columbus market, appliance sales now will be in the hands of chains such as Best Buy, Lowe’s and Home Depot — and soon JCPenney — as well as local independent stores such as Daniel Appliance.