Blog: JC Penney's future takes it back to the past
Leonie Barrie | 21 August 2013
Without naming names, it's clear Ron Johnson's presence continues to loom large at JC Penney.
Time and again on a call with analysts yesterday (20 August) current CEO Mike Ullman referred to "the mistakes of the past" as he tried to explain the department store retailer's dire second quarter performance.
"It's no secret that the company's prior merchandising and promotional strategies weren't working." "There are no quick fixes to correct the errors of the past." "Our top priority...has been...reconnecting with our customer who frankly had lost faith in us."
During his two-year tenure, which ended in April, former Apple executive Johnson hoped to breathe new life into the retailer by focusing on everyday low prices instead of promotions, in-store boutiques, and replacing private labels with new brands.
Customers deserted the store in droves, and since Ullman's return to the helm four months ago he has focused on reversing Johnson's changes step by step - by bringing back promotions, realigning inventories, balancing private brands (like Arizona, and Total Girl) with national ones (Nike, Levi's and Vans), and reinstating popular labels like St John's Bay.
To the cynic, it looks as though the retailer is heading in full-circle, with a strategy that is simply taking it back to where it was two years ago, albeit with even wider losses (US$588m in the second quarter) and slumping sales.
Optimistically, Ullman says despite double-digit declines, second-quarter comps saw a 470 basis point improvement from the last quarter, and sales have improved sequentially month-by-month.
But even he admits: "There are no quick fixes to correct the errors of the past." And even fewer, it would seem, to build the retailer of the future.
To coincide with World Water Week, which kicked off in Stockholm yesterday, the need for better use of increasingly limited water resources has turned the spotlight on the global cotton industry - one...
From scanning technology for major sizing studies, to magic mirrors or virtual fitting rooms, 3D technology is helping to transform both retail stores and online shopping....
Inditex-owned fast fashion chain Zara has gone and done it again....
The reality of 3D printing and its commercial application in the fashion industry is currently restricted to a relatively limited range of materials. These include mostly plastics and metals, although...
If Cambodia's US$5.5bn garment industry is not yet at a crossroads, it is approaching one, according to participants at an industry trade show held in Phnom Penh. Many industry suppliers believe that ...
Many analysts describe 3D as 'disruptive' technology and its introduction into the apparel industry has not been without sceptics. But workplace examples show how apparel companies are successfully em...
Retail shares have been among the biggest fallers in the last two weeks as financial markets react to President Vladimir Putin's retaliation to the imposition of sanctions on Russia....
- SOURCING: Worldwide change in cost competitiveness
- Gap audits reveal compliance issues in Myanmar
- Water scarcity a challenge to cotton supply chains
- Li & Fung looks to new frontiers for growth
- Wool makes a comeback as a 21st century fibre
- Adidas to use only Bluesign-approved chemicals
- Accord and Alliance discord "a setback"
- Scientists hail first recycled cotton garment
- Myanmar and US to develop labour rights initiative
- Weak traffic slows sales for Abercrombie & Fitch
- Global Database of the Top 1000 Apparel Producers - Company Names, Financial Performance, Key Executives, and Contact Details
- Wool in the 21st Century: new prospects for a familiar fibre
- Global market review of denim and jeanswear – forecasts to 2020
- Global Database of the Top 1000 Cut and Sew Apparel Producers - Company Names, Financial Performance, Key Executives, and Contact Details
- China - ISA Country Report