The ad features a voice-over from a mother saying a son's clothes could "make or break" him for the entire year.
The ad then shows the student sitting alone at a lunch table.
Some parents say the spot promotes bullying and puts pressure on cash-strapped parents to buy the latest clothes.
The criticism comes after the company is already struggling. Sales are down and the company is looking for a new CEO.
JC Penney announced the ad in question is no longer part of its current TV campaign.
The company says its ad was not intended to "trivialize or promote bullying."
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