Penney also boasted a successful Black Friday, as it was one of the first retailers to open its doors Thursday at 2 p.m.
“Hundreds – and, in some cases, thousands – of shoppers lined up outside our stores for popular items such as the cooks air fryer, Xersion puffer jackets, diamond jewelry and smart watches, Nike athletic apparel and shoes, and toys,” the company wrote in a press release.
On jcp.com, traffic increased at a double-digit pace throughout the week, the company said, with most shoppers visiting the site from their mobile devices. And on Thanksgiving Day, Penney’s website received the most visits of any day so far this year, management added.
According to the company, other top-selling items online included jewelry, furniture and refrigerators. Notably, the department store chain has been trying to grow its assortment of appliances, as rival Sears Holdings loses its share of those sales amid recent store closures.
Penney also has a partnership with beauty brand Sephora, which has aided in luring younger shoppers to its stores.
“Walking the store, we noticed heaviest traffic in the Sephora [displays], especially around the casual assortment as well as Women’s boots which were 50 to 60 percent off,” Cowen and Co. analyst Oliver Chen wrote in a note to clients about visiting Penney.
Overall, though, Chen said traffic appeared to be stronger at Macy’s.
“At Macy’s, traffic appeared strong, with shoppers spread out throughout all three floors browsing 400 doorbuster specials,” he wrote. “We noticed heaviest traffic in women’s apparel, women’s shoes, and beauty.”
Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC Friday morning that traffic at the department store chain’s flagship Herald Square location already looked to be stronger than last year.
A Macy’s spokeswoman later confirmed that more than 16,000 people were lined up outside the Herald Square store before it opened Thursday evening. By 7 a.m. Friday, Macy’s had already sold 200,000 coats, and was on track to sell more than 1 million coats, sweaters and fleece jackets by the end of the weekend.
The Northeast has been “blessed … with cold weather,” Gennette told CNBC.
Macy’s strong start to the day was marred by a credit card slowdown Friday afternoon, which inconvenienced many shoppers and delayed some purchases from going through. The issue was resolved by Friday evening, and Macy’s said it doesn’t expect the glitch to have any financial impact.