Penney offers free family portraits for holidays

NEW YORK -- First, free haircuts for kids every Sunday. Now, free family photos for the holidays.

J.C. Penney Co. said Tuesday that for the entire month of November families can have a portrait done for free. That includes sitting fees and a traditional printed 8-inch by 10-inch portrait, as well as a digital copy of the same pose to share with relatives and friends. The free portrait service is available at 530 Penney stores that have portrait studios. Penney operates more than 1,100 stores.

The freebie follows Penney's announcement last month that it will make a free haircut offer, launched for August, a permanent deal every Sunday, starting Nov. 4.

The promotions come as Penney's new CEO Ron Johnson tries to bring back shoppers who have been turned off by the chain's move to scale back hundreds of discounts in favor of everyday low prices. The Plano, Tex.-based company has grappled with two straight quarters of losses and severe sales drops as shoppers, accustomed to big discounts, vanished after Penney's implemented the new pricing policy Feb. 1. At the same time, Penney is opening new shops as part of its campaign to make its stores more exciting.

J.C. Penney shares fell 98 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $25.27 in afternoon trading amid a broad market decline.