JC Penney to start selling home appliances again

NEW YORK (AP) — J.C. Penney will sell refrigerators, washing machines and other appliances at some of its stores for the first time in more than 30 years.

The move, announced Tuesday, comes as many department stores are under pressure to attract shoppers who are spending more money on their homes than on clothing.

J.C. Penney says many of its customers are either buying their first home or already own one and want to update them. Shoppers were often searching for refrigerators or washing machines on the department store’s website, says J.C. Penney spokeswoman Daphne Avila.

The appliances will go on sale Feb. 1 at 22 stores in the San Antonio, San Diego and Tampa, Florida, areas. If they sell well, appliances could be sold at stores nationwide, Avila says. Among the appliance brands that J.C. Penney will sell include GE, LG and Samsung. The company says it stopped selling appliances around 1983.

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Department store operators have been looking at ways to shake up their offerings. Macy’s, for example, opened Best Buy shops at 10 of its stores late last year to sell smartphones, tablets and other consumer electronics.

J.C. Penney Co., headquartered in Plano, Texas, has more than 1,000 stores nationwide.

Its shares slipped 44 cents, or 6.3 percent, to close at $6.57 Tuesday.