Tacoma J.C. Penney among sites remodeling for appliance showroom

If J.C. Penney’s internal research has found anything, it’s that the kids appear to be all right.

Millennials are starting families — married or not. They’re establishing homes. And, according to Tacoma Mall J.C. Penney appliance manager Mike Lindquist, they’re buying more washers, dryers, refrigerators and stoves than ever.

That’s the driving force behind Penney’s move to begin selling large appliances for the first time since 1983, said Lindquist.

With people re-entering the real estate market in record numbers — particularly newer, younger buyers and renters — the market for large appliances is there once again.

The Tacoma Mall location will be one of about 500 Penney store sites nationwide and 11 in Washington state to begin selling appliances this year. JCPenney began introducing appliances to its stores in February. When the rollout wraps up in September, nearly half of the chain’s U.S. locations will offer appliances in showrooms and online.

Penney stores at Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood, South Hill Mall in Puyallup and Southcenter Mall in Tukwila also will receive appliances this month.

The Tacoma Mall JCPenney appliances will be sold on the third floor where mattresses and bedding used to be stocked. The remodel of that section began Monday, and when it’s finished it will hold about 160 LG, GE and Samsung appliances on the floor at a time.

Lindquist said they will receive their appliance stock Wednesday, and will hold a grand opening celebration Aug. 19.

Penney spokeswoman Sarah Holland said selling appliances is a natural fit for the store. “We noticed that many online shoppers were visiting and searching for various appliance options unsuccessfully,” Holland said in an email. “Now that the economy is strong and there’s a high percentage of home ownership, more people are investing in their homes.”

Hannah Shirley: 253-597-8670, @itshannah7