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JCPenney Testing Smart-Home Services With Samsung

JCPenney has forged a smart-home services partnership with Samsung.

The pilot pact is part of a broader effort by Penney to develop a menu of in-home services to supplement its ailing apparel business and build a safe haven from Amazon’s advances.

Related:JCPenney To Shut 14 Percent Of Stores

In an interview with CNBC following a meeting last week with analysts, JCPenney chairman/CEO Marvin Ellison said the in-home Samsung initiative would focus on safety and security, because those features are “really important to our female customers.”

Women make up 70 percent of Penney’s customer base, he said, and 70 percent of those are homeowners, which was also an impetus for the retailer’s recent return to major appliances.

Ellison provided no further details on the smart-home effort, but noted that other in-home services being tested include window blind installation, simple bathroom remodels, and HVAC installs through a partnership with Trane.

He said the service offering represents “a great opportunity” to take advantage of the $13 billion in market share being shed by Sears, and is a response to customers who have said “there are other things we will buy if you can put those services in your home, because we trust the brand.”

Ellison said customers had similarly asked for appliances at Penney stores, which led to a 500-showroom rollout that “exceeded expectations so far.”

An additional 100 stores are set to receive majap departments early this year, and Ellison added that Penney is also testing appliances within some of its smaller-format locations.