Some of Penney's first suburban shopping center stores opened in Memphis' POPLAR HIGHLAND PLAZA (1949) and Greater New York City's LEVITTOWN CENTER (1951). At the time, all Penney's stores were so-called dry goods only operations. Unlike Sears and Montgomery Ward, who operated some full-line stores, Penney's carried only apparel, fashion accessories, shoes, housewares, linens, curtains and other "soft lines".
The J.C. Penney Co. store that anchored Greater New Orleans' LAKESIDE CENTER mall opened in March 1960. It encompassed approximately 43,200 square feet and typified the standard "dry goods only" Penney's store.
EARLY J.C. PENNEY SHOPPING MALL STORES (dry goods only):
*LOS ALTOS CENTER, Long Beach, CA (1955)
*163rd STREET CENTER, Dade County, FL (1956)
*STEWART-LAKEWOOD CENTER, Atlanta, GA (1959)
In November 1961, Penney's Audobon opened for business in Camden County, New Jersey. Encompassing approximately 172,000 square feet, it was the company's first full-line suburban store. It was followed by a second in August 1963. The J.C. Penney Co. store at Greater Philadelphia's KING OF PRUSSIA PLAZA encompassed approximately 220,000 square feet and opened as the largest store in the chain.
Penney's Audobon, which was an anchor of Camden County, New Jersey's BLACK HORSE PIKE CENTER. It, and the subsequent KING OF PRUSSIA PLAZA store, were stepping stones. They bridged the gap between early "dry goods only" mercantiles and newer full-line "Penneys" locations.
Drawing from http://www.flickr.com / "JSF0864"
The two full-line J.C. Penney Co. stores included departments carrying lawn & garden items, sporting goods, apparel, fashion accessories, shoes, housewares, fabrics, linens, curtains, floor coverings, furniture, large appliances and electronics. A standard-size J.C. Penney Co. store, which opened at Melbourne, Florida's BREVARD MALL in August 1963, included the very first Penneys Auto Center.