JCPenney launches new appliance showrooms at 8 MN stores

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You'll notice changes at JCPenney stores across Minnesota this weekend, as the retailer looks to capitalize on the woes of rival Sears by re-entering the major appliance market.

New major appliance showrooms will launch at six stores on Friday, following the showrooms that opened in the Edina and Eden Prairie outlets last week.

Stores in the Burnsville Shopping Center, Rosedale, Ridgedale in Minnetonka, Riverdale in Coon Rapids, the Apache Mall in Rochester and Crossroads Center in St. Cloud are the ones getting the new appliance sections.

Each store will have between 100 and 215 appliances on display, JCPenney said in a news release, which will include refrigerators, ranges, dishwashers, washers and dryers from brands including Samsung, LG, GE and Hotpoint.

It's part of a 500-store appliance rollout across the country that will be completed this fall, with the retailer offering free delivery and a price match guarantee on sales.

It comes as major appliance retail chain Sears is struggling to bounce back from major losses, as it struggles to compete with what CEO Eddie Lampert described as "the impact of disruptive changes from online competition and new business models," according to Fierce Retail.

JCPenney's re-entry to the market comes as Richfield-based Best Buy announced a surprise uptick in profits this week, which came on the back of strong appliance sales that made up for a shortfall in phone and tablet sales.

CNN Money said Americans have been shifting their spending "towards home renovations and furnishings," which goes some way to explaining the bump in appliance sales.

George John, professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, told the Star Tribune the move from JCPenney could be a wise one, as appliance sales "are less likely to be eaten away by online."

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