JCPenney’s new chief executive isn’t trying to win new customers or court younger, hipper buyers. Instead Marc Rosen hopes to revive the 120-year-old retailer by focusing on those who already shop there: budget-conscious American families.

That is a departure from predecessors who tried to woo millennials, appliance buyers and even yoga enthusiasts, to name a few. Those strategies failed to keep the chain out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2020. Its new owners installed Mr. Rosen, the great-grandson of a department-store owner, last November. He previously worked for Walmart Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co.

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