J.C. Penney Opens First Store

Large retail chains are a large part of the U.S. economy.  Millions of Americans visit retail stores or order from catalogs to purchase clothing, footwear, furniture and a variety of other products.  One of the most well-known and successful names in department stores is J.C. Penney.

On this day, April 13th, in 1902, James C. Penney opened his first store, the Golden Rule store, in Kemmerer, Wyoming.  Penney’s first retail venture resulted in 3 successful stores in the Wyoming area, until moving the company’s headquarters to Salt Lake City in 1909.  By 1912, there were 34 J.C. Penney locations and the J.C. Penney Company was incorporated in 1913.  Consumers continued to embrace J.C. Penney and the rapidly growing department store expanded its reach to 22 states by 1918.

J.C. Penney  now has more than 1,000 locations in the United States.  In addition to its normal retail items, many locations have grown to include restaurants, optical centers, portrait studios and jewelry repair centers.  The company has remained profitable despite a decline in the economy.  J.C. Penney generated nearly $18 billion in revenue in 2010.