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JCPenney General Manager Michael Burkett showed off the store's new major appliance showroom Friday. The company began selling appliances again after more than 30 years.
Jax Daily Record Monday, Jul. 18, 201612:00 PM EST

JCPenney 'here to stay' at Regency Square Mall

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Regency Square Mall saw Belk Inc. leave in March 2015 for a new location a few miles east.

Sears closed Sunday at the Arlington mall as part of a company decision to shutter 10 Sears and 68 Kmart stores this summer.

Dillard’s converted its store at Regency into a clearance center.

That leaves JCPenney as the remaining department store and the subject of ongoing speculation about its future at the 49-year-old mall.

General Manager Michael Burkett said not to worry.

“We’re not going anywhere,” he said Friday as he unveiled the store’s new selection of appliances as the company resumes selling refrigerators, stoves and other durable goods after more than 30 years.

Burkett said the Regency Square Mall JCPenney is “doing very well.”

“We’re here to stay,” he said.

JCPenney at Regency Square and The Avenues mall started selling major appliances Friday as the Plano, Texas-based company decided to re-enter that line of business in 500 of its more than 1,000 stores.

At Regency, about 4,800 square feet of space on a corner of the second floor was reconfigured to showcase more than 200 appliances, including those by Samsung, GE, LG and Hotpoint.

Washers, dryers, ranges, microwaves, refrigerators and some stand-alone freezers are on display. Customers place orders and the products are delivered in a few days.

The company said it offers no-interest financing, free delivery, a price-match guarantee and the ability to earn JCPenney Rewards.

Company spokeswoman Sarah Holland said The Avenues appliance showroom is about 2,000 square feet.

To make way for appliances, JCPenney is consolidating or exiting other areas. Holland said at Regency and The Avenues, the stores took away the furniture showroom, although furniture can be ordered at the jcp.com site.

Online interest by customers was one of the reasons JCPenney resumed selling major appliances, according to Burkett. A lot of customers looked on the company website for appliances it didn’t carry.

He also said a survey showed a third of all appliance customers buy products at a mall.

Both of those factors, added to an economy in which people are updating their homes, led the company to resume sales.

JCPenney at Regency also is in the position to compete for appliance customers who might have shopped at the Sears store at the mall.

Adding an appliance showroom, Burkett said, is “to take care of our customers.”

Burkett said the store has some loyal ones.

“The people who shop here, they love this store,” he said.

Some have been regulars since the mall, at 9501 Arlington Expressway, opened in 1967 with JCPenney as one of the original tenants.

“They come in and I hear the stories. It always feels good when you hear those stories,” he said.

JCPenney also was an original tenant when The Avenues opened in 1990 along Southside Boulevard.

Holland said the company has not announced renovation plans for either store.

JCPenney’s three other Northeast Florida stores are on Dunn Avenue in North Jacksonville, at the Orange Park Mall and in St. Augustine.

Holland said the company was not providing a complete list of stores in the phased appliance showroom rollout for competitive reasons.

[email protected]

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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