JCPenney Offers Free Professional Headshots

Think a dated LinkedIn portrait or clumsy Zoom placeholder may be holding you back? JC Penney thinks you might be right. The retailer just gave away 3,000 free professional headshots.

The limited-time offer, which was set to run through Feb 7, was fully subscribed within 48 hours. It's the latest in the retailer’s effort to use its portrait studios to stand out from the rest of the department store crowd.

JC Penney often combines back-to-school haircut offers with photo sessions at its JC Penney Portraits by Lifetouch studios. The company has also expanded its pet portrait offers, and last year, it photographed senior dogs from 10 shelters in the U.S. in an extended adoption drive.

Customers signed up online to register for the headshots. JC Penney promoted the offer through email, LinkedIn, and Instagram, according to a company spokesperson.



The effort is especially aimed at younger customers, graduating and getting ready for their first big job search this spring. It fits in with the chain’s effort to position itself as an ally to America’s working families.

“JCPenney is committed to matching the efforts of our customers as they work to make every moment count,” said Katie Mullen, chief customer officer at JCPenney, in the announcement. “Shoppers already know they can rely on JCPenney for everything they need to land their dream role, but through services like JCPenney Portraits, we’re uniquely able to equip them with an accessible, professional headshot.”

In the past, JC Penney has teamed up with various job readiness programs and “Suit Up” events, partnering with colleges and universities for up to 500 events per year. In-store teams coach students on workwear and often offer 30% off apparel.

So far this year, the company has lined up 200 events through April.

Thanks to its “Make It Count” positioning, J.C. Penney's turnaround efforts are progressing. Launched last fall as part of a $1 billion makeover, that effort has helped digital sales improve. Customers are shopping more often and spending about 11% more per trip than a year ago.

Still, the big picture is daunting. Last month, JC Penney reported quarterly results, and said total net sales for the chain, now owned by Simon Property Group, a large mall operator, and Brookfield Asset Management, fell more than 10% to $1.53 billion. Net losses grew to $30 million, compared to $17 million in the year-ago quarter.

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