JCPenney is a big player in the online crib business—their site has over 100+ crib options to choose from, along with a raft of other nursery furniture and accessories.
Penney’s has followed several different strategies for their crib options over the years. First they chose private label cribs like Rockland and Savannah (made by Yu Wei, a Taiwanese furniture company). Then they added cribs made by major manufacturers like Westwood but renamed them to make them seem exclusive to Penney’s. Westwood makes the Bedford Baby cribs for them, for example.
Now it looks like the majority of their cribs are made by manufacturers under their actual names. For example, they’ve added Fisher-Price, Delta, DaVinci and Million Dollar Baby, Simmons, and Franklin & Ben. The previous strategy of hiding the brand names was a mistake in our opinion, this change is a positive. Prices for these brand names start at under $200 for Fisher-Price and soar to $600 for Million Dollar Baby brands including babyletto modern cribs.
We review all the above brand names separately in this section. As for Rockland and Savannah, their private label cribs, most readers tell us they are happy with the quality. Prices for cribs run $400 to $500; most of the dressers are around $450.
In the past year, we’ve noticed Penney’s has added several nursery packages (crib plus one or two dressers) to their web site, with prices in the $700 to $1500 range. FYI: These don’t necessarily equate to savings, as the package price is often the same as the pieces bought individually.
On the upside, Penney’s has a good reputation for safety. Yes, the company has had recalls for some defective side rails and drop-side cribs in the past two years, but overall Penney’s has had a good safety track record.
Penney’s customer service has been up and down in recent years. Although complaints are generally down compared to five years ago, we still see stories like this posted to our message board: a reader ordered a nursery set and it arrived three weeks early. So far so good, right? Yes, but when the reader opened the box with the dresser, she found it damaged (dropped on the corner and the top had buckled). Interestingly, the box was flawless, so someone had dropped the dresser before it had been packed.
So the customer takes the dresser back to Penney’s, which promised to ship a replacement. The replacement arrives a week later . . . but is the wrong color. When the customer calls back Penney’s to get this fixed, she finds the entire set has now been discontinued. Bottom line: our reader has to return the entire nursery set and start again.
The moral of this story is that, yes, freight damage can happen with any furniture order. But Penney’s compounds the error by shipping the wrong color as a replacement—there’s no excuse for that.
Bottom line: we only recommend Penney’s if you live in a place with few other retail baby store alternatives. Rating: C+