Heard during J.C. Penney's (JCP) talk at the BofA Consumer & Retail Conference: 1)...


Heard during J.C. Penney's (JCP) talk at the BofA Consumer & Retail Conference: 1) Self-funding seem to be in the playbook as the company says it aims to take non-core assets and use them as a source of cash. 2) "Lots of opportunities" on the expense side. 3) A bit of a brain teaser after CFO Ken Hannah discloses 30% of store employee hours is "non-selling" hours. 4) On attracting core customers who fled JCP,  expect more "gifts"  and an adjustment to the retailer's assortment. 5) Mistakes are admitted - but tactics are adapting for the "multi-year" journey. JCP +3.6% on the prospect of selling assets and the lack of any bombshell. (webcast), slides)

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Comments (13)
  • Ghagmaier
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    Not good enough...
    13 Mar 2013, 03:14 PM Reply Like
  • karmike
    , contributor
    Comments (190) | Send Message
     
    Smoke and mirrors, Ken. Try running for congress when you are gone!
    13 Mar 2013, 04:34 PM Reply Like
  • 033147tm
    , contributor
    Comments (8) | Send Message
     
    Sales, not stock price, keeps a company afloat. As a retired Penney manager, I have seen from the beginning of this debacle, huge mistakes that anyone having experienced retail 101 could see. As a retiree, I am still on the mailing list that sends me circulars touting mdse that no one my age or even my son's age would buy. Are these circulars being sent to J Crew customers to get them into the stores. I don't see them there. Even if they come, they won't be back.
    13 Mar 2013, 05:15 PM Reply Like
  • gmom3
    , contributor
    Comments (139) | Send Message
     
    My only question to retired store manager is how do you know that J Crew type customers are not in jcp stores if you no longer work there? One would have to be working there for several days during the week to be able to claim that statement.

     

    I think everyone is in agreement that Retail 101 has not been implemented much at jcp since RJ has been CEO. That's why so many people are angry and frustrated with him because he is not following the rules that have been in place for many, many years.
    It's either going to work or it isn't. This isn't the time to decide it is going to be a complete failure based on last year. Perhaps by Back to School when Home, Sephora, Joe Fresh and other shops have been in place and customers can actually have seen something instead of what they have not seen.
    13 Mar 2013, 05:53 PM Reply Like
  • karmike
    , contributor
    Comments (190) | Send Message
     
    As another retired JCP manager, I can tell you that with rj's new shops, his merchandising is so bad that even if he stumbles upon a couple of winners, they will be out of key sku's so fast they will underperform! Let there be no mistake, a winning label or two will not offset the loss of sales and customer base he has caused. JCP is in real trouble here!
    14 Mar 2013, 10:59 AM Reply Like
  • MaryLa
    , contributor
    Comments (38) | Send Message
     
    I began working in a retail store part time at an early age because I had working papers to work for my father He was first a Penney manager and later owner of a small department store. Lived the retail business even after I was married because my husband was in the fur business. When I read the comments and see gmom3 has made a statement I say, Harrah!
    Ron Johnson has good ideas and I think we all know that the stores needed a face lift but as he has proven by all of the mistakes he has made that eliminating all the experienced Penney people at the top and or the regular proven associates in the stores
    has not allowed his plan to work well.
    J.C.Penney Co. had always been a family store but quality and price are important to young and old alike and I know with three daughters and a son we often shop together. RJ, put your plan to work. Finish the job and don't make anymore changes. JCP customers are smart but like some of the associates, they can't keep up with the changes. Whenever I hear JCP and Macy's in the same sentence I get angry. There is no comparison...That's another story. JCPenney is a strong company and I don't think RJ will close its doors. I just hope the Board of Directors (no Penney men) know what they are doing.
    13 Mar 2013, 07:56 PM Reply Like
  • wila
    , contributor
    Comments (10) | Send Message
     
    Its to bad the employees are paying for his arrogant moves. He has gone back on his word on every thing he shoved down our throats at the beginning of the year. Stores are running on teenage skeleton crews because of all the lay offs. I think he is getting rid of all employees who have shown loyalty to this store for many years. If they call shoving credit applications, forcing the customers to look for someone to ring them up, and having to order online because there is not enough merchandise in the store good customer service then there is something wrong with this company.
    13 Mar 2013, 09:44 PM Reply Like
  • sand78rpm@sbcglobal.net
    , contributor
    Comments (6) | Send Message
     
    I am also a retired jcp management associate. They have dropped too much basic quality core merchandise. In home, the look is all contemporary, nothing traditional.missing a lot of opportunity.
    13 Mar 2013, 10:00 PM Reply Like
  • countrydweller
    , contributor
    Comments (31) | Send Message
     
    I agree that the home look is very modern. All the new items appear to be quite modern as well with a few exceptions in window coverings and not a valance to be seen, perhaps one of the most requested items at our store.

     

    What constitutes non selling hours I wonder?
    14 Mar 2013, 06:34 AM Reply Like
  • gmom3
    , contributor
    Comments (139) | Send Message
     
    countrydweller: I am impressed that you have any new product in your drapery area. With all the construction at our store with Home, we don't have much until after the dust has settled. We don't have any of the new fixtures to display, hence nothing really new to show customers.

     

    As for non selling hours, I would assume that might be those hours before the store is open as well as during hours when they are setting up displays, putting out product, cash room, scheduling, etc. Just think of all the stuff non selling related we used to have to do in the past like sorting all that paperwork in the drawer type of thing that they have reduced considerably. That seems to show that the company wanted to cut down the time we used to spend doing that kind of thing and be out on the floor selling. It also could mean all the time team members might be standing around a cash register talking, the paid break times, too. Just thinking of these few times we would not be selling yet getting paid, makes sense it would be that much non selling time.
    14 Mar 2013, 06:59 AM Reply Like
  • countrydweller
    , contributor
    Comments (31) | Send Message
     
    we want to try and display our new items amongst the chaos, lol, no new fixtures though, not yet.....

     

    our home construction seem to be delayed. the street is more than halfway done.

     

    Without stocking, pricing, receiving, etc how can there be any selling?
    There is hardly enough time or people to get those things done as it is.
    14 Mar 2013, 12:33 PM Reply Like
  • gmom3
    , contributor
    Comments (139) | Send Message
     
    countrydweller: I am not sure exactly what you mean about not having people do stocking, pricing, etc. I didn't get the idea that they were going to get rid of the people from special teams who are doing that now. I don't do any of that unless I get asked in for extra hours to do ticketing or for support in addition to my usual 20+ hour week on the floor. I don't think any of my co workers do the pricing, etc unless they are on the special "teams" that do just that.

     

    They are moving very quickly through our Home remodel. Each day I go in it seems like everything is moved again because the "Wall" is moved to a different part of the remodel. Our streets look pretty good so far. It was funny to listen to a couple construction guys the other night seriously discussing the challenges of doing those concrete floors the way they are being instructed. It looks easy to me, but according to them it is not. They have to get the Home area complete pretty quickly because Sephora construction starts this month, too. They got Joe Fresh done earlier then expected but they had to wait until tomorrow before the grandopening. Our construction people are all local so it is nice that jcp is hiring local contractors for the construction.

     

    I wouldn't want to put out new product with all the dust aflying during the night. I would think draperies in particular would be something to avoid the dust bowl of construction. They do a pretty decent job of containing the dust, but it still seeps out.

     

    On the other end of the store they have a lot of new brands. I think the prom dress promotion is impressive and I think it will be a big draw to our store. Although we are in a mall, we get a lot of traffic from a huge area and don't seem to have the lack of customers many other stores in the bigger cities have at malls. It must be the lack of competition in our area. I know we are fortunate.

     

    My role as a team member is to be on the selling floor, greeting, interacting and assisting customers. When I get some other tasks done during a down time or at the end of the night, that is great, but between our team members we seem to get done what is asked of us. We are not bogged down by a lot of stuff we used to have to do. (no, I am not a minimum wage new hire but a very long term employee who has been through two remodels of this store already) I know only what I see and experience at the store I work at.

     

    Hang in there on your remodel. It certainly has gotten the customers walking through very curious and they are asking a lot of questions. Contrary to what a lot of people write on internet boards about jcp, a lot of customers really are surprised to see the goings on at the store. They have been clueless that anything like something called a "transformation" has been going on. Some of the information they do share they were aware of that they had read or heard from somewhere is not even close to being accurate.

     

    I certainly hope they see this through because what I have seen so far is very attractive and a huge improvement over what our 40+ year old store looked like before.

     

    It has been interesting to see this switch of kinds of customers who are now coming into the store, many who never shopped there before. I keep hearing this hype about trying to attract the teens and young twenties, but the ones I am seeing are more like the 30's and 40's and even 50's. I am talking men, not women because I am not in an area that would see women that much unless they are purchasing for their spouses, sons, boyfriends or fathers and there are plenty of those, too.

     

    I know the home department in particular has been in the ghost town zone for a very long time so the remodel can't happen soon enough.

     

    I am looking forward to seeing the day when all this comes together and if it does work, this is going to be quite a fun place to shop as well as work at. I know I will be probably be bashed for that opinion, but it is still my opinion that I feel strongly enough about to state it publicly despite all the negative comments to the contrary.
    14 Mar 2013, 01:37 PM Reply Like
  • John Rambo
    , contributor
    Comments (3) | Send Message
     
    Let me see if I understand Ron Johnson. He now openly admits he blew it and many of his major decisions were a huge mistake. Here's the problem Ron - your mistakes cost 21,200 people their job! Why the hell do you keep your job, a job which you were paid well in excess of $50 Million, and 21,200 people have to lose their job (that's the count as of last Friday anyway) because you don't have the slighest clue as to what you are doing? Seriously - sales and company stock price are in a death spiral - and the loyal hardworking employees, many many experienced employees who put in 12 hour days yet only got their normal modest salary - get fired??? What teh hell am I missing?? Anyone care to answer?
    15 Mar 2013, 05:59 AM Reply Like
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