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.
A review of the work carried out so far by the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety says the group has made "significant and laudable progress" over the past 12 months - but pulls no punches when it ...
The explosive growth of the Bangladeshi ready-made garment industry is more likely to be accompanied by accusations of sweatshop exploitation from labour rights activists than praise for the positive ...
US retailers ramped up stocks for the start of the back-to-school season in July, pushing apparel imports for the month up by 13.4%, according to the latest data. But while China and Vietnam were the ...
A sustained focus on cost, inventory management, merchandise, and speed-to-market has helped L Brands, formerly Limited Brands, to buck what analysts say is a sluggish consumer environment....
US retail giant Gap Inc has made no secret of the fact that it faced - and continues to face - a number of compliance issues linked to its decision to start sourcing garments from Myanmar/Burma....
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...
- India's labour law reforms edge a step closer
- Improved supplier capabilities benefit Next
- Retailers voice concerns on Scottish independence
- China and Vietnam lead US apparel imports in July
- Alliance and Accord urged to harmonise efforts
- H&M goes green with Conscious Denim
- Under Armour "resonating strongly" with consumers
- TPP talks "make progress" but issues remain
- Adidas defends position despite investor unrest
- Ultrasonic execs disappear along with company cash
- Apparel Market in China to 2018 - Market Size, Trends, and Forecasts
- 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 Apparel Producers - Company Names, Financial Performance, Key Executives, and Contact Details
- Global Database of the Top 1000 Cut and Sew Apparel Producers - Company Names, Financial Performance, Key Executives, and Contact Details