JCPenney (JCP), the storied 120-year-old American department store chain, is leveraging its India technology centre’s capabilities to drive its global digital transformation, according to Sharmeelee Bala the company’s Chief Information Officer.

The retail chain, like several of its peers, faced challenging times during the pandemic when a large number of its physical stores were shut, forcing it to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May 2020.

However, after Brookfield Asset Management and Simon Property Group injected around $800 million, the company has accelerated its digitisation journey to serve its customers.

“Bengaluru is our second largest development centre (after Plano, Texas) and is integral to JCP’s technology strategy. We have operations, merchandising, and digital operations teams here that work and support our product development teams to serve the diverse needs of our customers,” Bala told BusinessLine

On whether JCP will continue to work with Indian IT services players like TCS and Infosys, Bala said: “Our strategy is to continue building and growing knowledge and talent in-house. Places where we need to augment with external partners, we will. But in some key product areas, we are focused on building, growing, and retaining that capability within.”

JCP, in the next few years, is planning to renew its investments focus on technology by building on the foundational platforms and bringing in newer technology that can accelerate its journey to provide a seamless omni channel experience to its customers. “Bengaluru is an integral part of the tech strategy of JCPenney and central to its success,” she added.

Bala said that as a policy they don’t break up country specific employee numbers but reiterated that things like the centre of excellence in analytics which the Indian operations of the company runs is integral to its overall success.

JCPenney also sources a lot of merchandise from India for its global operations. “For our overall business, having both the tech and non-tech teams here makes a huge difference,” she added.

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