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"It is always the start that requires the greatest effort." – James Cash Penney 

JCPenney's history is bound to the legacy of our founder, James Cash Penney, who established honor, courage, service, and cooperation as guiding principles in the life of a JCPenney associate. These values have been at the forefront of our Company history and continue to guide us into the future.

In 2004, JCPenney donated its corporate archives and the papers of James Cash Penney (1875-1971) to Southern Methodist University’s DeGoyler Library, which include more than 20,000 photographs, and 1,500 linear feet of correspondence, speeches, ledgers, catalogs, and Company publications documenting more than 100 years of corporate history.

In December 2020, JCPenney emerged from Chapter 11 as a private Company owned by Simon Properties Group and Brookfield Asset Management along with their strategic partner, Authentic Brands Group.


We are committed to building an equitable, inclusive, and diverse space in which a results-minded culture can thrive. Our associates embody the JCPenney Values of service, passion, energy, inclusion, and family in everything we do.

As a dedicated team of more than 50,000 people around the world, our associates are the foundation of our success – their passion, energy, and talent fuel our Company's growth. In return, we promise to continually invest in training and development that fuels their personal and professional growth. 

Working at JCPenney means joining a dedicated team of associates who are encouraged to be uniquely themselves in a collaborative and inclusive environment where careers prosper, accomplishments are celebrated, and diversity flourishes. We continue to refine processes and workflows to support a collaborative culture while transitioning to a hybrid workforce model in our corporate locations.


JCPenney has a legacy of developing strong, vibrant communities. With a commitment to helping close the opportunity gap, we are passionate about providing students in under-resourced communities the tools for success. We connect Company, community, and cause by investing our time and resources in three primary impact areas: professional clothing needs, youth programming, and career readiness support. Through the volunteer spirit of our associates and strategic investment in the work of our nonprofit partners, JCPenney and the JCPenney Communities Foundation are working to improve the communities where we live and work.


Inclusion & Diversity is the journey of growth that we take together every day to ensure our customers, associates, and vendors of all backgrounds feel safe, valued, and respected at JCPenney. Through education, accountability, and investment, we courageously strive to inspire our customers, cultivate confident leaders, innovate through strategic partnerships, and serve our communities.

Our associates are leading the way to shape a more transparent and intentional Company by building on existing programs, creating annual commitments, and supporting the hiring, development, and advancement of diverse talent across our organization.

Every day we strive to share our commitments and work with you, our customer, and continue to educate, challenge, and inspire you to do the same in your local community.  


We embrace our responsibility to our associates, customers, and communities to treat each other, and the world in which we live and operate, as we want to be treated. JCPenney has built a legacy of ethical and responsible business conduct for more than a century and our standards are proudly reflected in our Statement of Business Ethics and our Supplier Principles. We also practice environmental sustainability principles and are continually striving to be a more eco-conscious retailer.

Learn more about our efforts here.


Our customer is at the center of all that we do, and we strive to provide a safe and secure shopping environment while serving your needs. Step inside a JCPenney and explore your own style with the latest apparel, accessories, footwear, beauty, and jewelry trends. Elevate the everyday with stylish home merchandise from our loved private and national brands.

Our stores play a vital role in the communities they serve by providing many services outside of apparel, including Salon, Optical, Portrait, and in-store events at the Kids Zone or Suit Up shopping experiences with students from colleges and universities across the country. Find your local store and discover all that JCPenney has to offer.


Not your average department store

JCPenney emerged more than 100 years ago as a small mercantile store serving families on the American frontier in the Old West. Today, we’re still pioneering new frontiers by challenging the old rules of retail and creating a shopping experience that merges the intimacy of a traditional store with the digital conveniences of personal technology.

Today, JCPenney is one of the nation’s largest apparel and home retailers with over 846 stores across the United States and Puerto Rico, and a powerful e-commerce site, jcp.com. The retail landscape is more competitive than ever, creating new opportunities to differentiate and streamline our business. With 98,000 hard-working associates around the globe, we have the talent and determination to succeed and be the best retailer for American families.


Our History and Values

JCPenney began in 1902 as a small mercantile store on the frontier of the American West in Kemmerer, Wyoming. Our founder, James Cash Penney, named his store The Golden Rule to reflect his personal and business philosophy of serving customers.

As Mr. Penney built a chain of successful JCPenney stores, they became a far cry from the small dry-goods store he opened more than a century ago. In those days, frontier miners and farmers and their families turned to JCPenney for blue jeans and work clothes, shoes, fabrics and sewing needs at a fair price.

Today, hard-working families still turn to JCPenney for attainable style and great value, a distinction that we’re proud to keep. And while fashion and shopping patterns have evolved, our focus on customer service remains unchanged.


Recognition and Service Awards

Inspired by our Golden Rule heritage, the JCPenney Warrior Spirit is a reflection of our culture and how every associate infuses the company’s values of loyalty, passion, courage and service in everything they do. JCPenney believes that hard work shouldn’t go unnoticed, so we strive to consistently acknowledge our associates for a job well done. Through a variety of recognition programs, we let our associates know just how much they’re appreciated. Here are just a few examples of how we reward outstanding efforts by our associates:

  • Warrior Coins – Warrior Coins are presented to extraordinary associates across the Company who show exemplary Warrior Spirit. Known as one of the most sought-after accolades at JCPenney, each limited edition coin is uniquely numbered, and only given to associates who go the extra mile to do what’s right for our customers, communities and fellow associates.
  • Champion’s Award – The Champion’s Award recognizes commission associates who stop at nothing to provide excellent service and value to customers. This special designation is presented to those who rank among the top 10 percent among their peers for sales volume in areas such as fine jewelry, window coverings, furniture and salon.
  • Founder’s Award – The Company’s highest honor for leadership excellence, the Founder’s Award is presented to associates and teams who go above and beyond what’s expected of them to deliver superior results, whether in-store, at the Home Office or any of our other support facilities. The award is so coveted, that less than one percent of all associates receive this prestigious honor.
  • Service Awards – Our Service Awards program is designed to celebrate our associates and their unique talents and contributions. Whether they’re celebrating their first, tenth or 40th anniversary, or any five-year milestone in between, we want to make sure they know how much they are appreciated for their loyalty to JCPenney.


Community Giving and Volunteerism

With approximately 98,000 associates across the country, we’re able to make a significant impact in the local communities in which we live and work. Each year, associates log tens of thousands of volunteer hours, donating their time and skills to benefit local non-profit organizations. We also encourage volunteerism during National Volunteer Month in April, which happens to coincide with the Company’s anniversary. It is our tradition to celebrate this special milestone by taking the time to give back to meaningful causes, including closing the opportunity gap for underserved youth.

Here are just a few ways we support our communities and fellow associates:

  • Associates who volunteer a certain number of hours each quarter can earn a James Cash Penney grant, which provides up to $600 a year to the non-profit of their choice.
  • Our annual “Change for the Better” giving campaign provides associates the opportunity to make automatic donations to a non-profit of their choice through a payroll deduction.
  • The Golden Rule Relief Fund provides assistance to those associates experiencing financial hardship caused by unforeseen situations such as natural disasters, house fires, floods or other hardships.


Inclusion and Diversity

At JCPenney, we believe that a commitment to inclusion and diversity is more than a legal or moral responsibility. It’s the foundation of our culture, the spirit that fosters an environment of collaboration and respect, and the driving force that inspires workplace innovation. Key to our success are the contributions and perspectives provided by our Business Resource Teams. Each team plays a role in advancing the Company’s cultural and social understanding through community engagement and associate events that bring together thought leaders from every walk of life to the forefront of our business.


Associate and Leadership Diversity

Research shows that gender and ethnically diverse companies are more likely to outperform their peers. We’re proud that at JCPenney, more than half of our associate population are minorities and they are positively represented at all levels within the company to include our executive team. What’s more, 80% of the people who work at JCPenney are women, representing every level within the organization to include our board of directors. While we don’t champion inclusion and diversity for the awards or distinctions, it’s humbling to be recognized by several leading institutions that recognize and celebrate organizations who make these values inherent to who they are.


Conservation and Sustainability

There’s nothing more important than preserving the planet and its precious resources for current and future generations. That’s why we place a strong emphasis on reducing our impact on the environment across all our operations.

Whether reducing GHG emissions by closely monitoring energy consumption, creating efficient supply transportation methods or diverting waste from landfills, JCPenney is actively reducing its impact on the environment.

To learn more about how JCPenney is advocating a sustainable future, please visit our 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility Report.