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Jan Rogers Kniffen

Jan Rogers Kniffen
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  • J.C. Penney: Valuation Has Settled Into A Reasonable Range [View article]
    I think describing a guy (Ellison) who spent half of his career at Target as having no experience with apparel is just wrong. The overlap in Target and Penney product is relatively high in apparel, soft home, pots and pans, jewelry and accessories, as well as seasonal goods like holiday trim a tree. His background is a good one for Penney.
    Oct 20 07:35 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Update: J. C. Penney's New CEO Announcement Is Window Dressing [View article]
    Actually, RJ also brought in the Disney shop, which has been incredibly successful, as well as IZOD, also very successful. (All of RJ's ideas were not bad...just most of them:) Mike brought in Sephora as the first "shop in shop" as you pointed out, and it has been the most successful introduction of product ever at JCP. Mike also "bought" and brought in Liz Claiborne which has done amazingly well. (He also brought in American Living, which was a cannot win them all.) But, right now the merchandising is getting better with every delivery.
    Oct 18 04:27 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • J.C. Penney: How Pennies Make Dollars - Part 2 [View article]
    I think you have covered all the basis here, and I basically am in agreement with what you have written. And, yes, I think JCP is a great opportunity since it got "whacked" (technical term) as a result of the analyst meeting. I, like you, am a big fan of the management team and the hire of Marvin Ellison. For future reference (and I do not think that this has all that much effect on your valuation work) no anchor in the history of mall based retailing has ever gotten a 70% transfer of sales when another anchor went dark. No one hits a number above 40%, there is just too much diffusion. Great work, though, I loved the article.
    Oct 18 04:16 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • J.C. Penney: It Ain't Love, But It Ain't Bad [View article]
    I have to say that I love this article. It is realistic and on point. I think department store retail spending in general is going to be good in October, November and December, so I am optimistic on the performance of JCP over that period. (Consumer confidence is at a multiyear high, energy costs, especially gasoline are adding a lot of spending power for the consumer. $3.20 gas would add 30 billion dollars in Q4 to consumer spending on a base of about 620 billion dollars.) And, yes, I think JCP is a buy at the current price. Nice job on the analysis. It is realistic and balanced.
    Oct 17 10:03 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Ellison Get Chance To Turn JC Penney Around? [View article]
    I, too, was at the meeting, though, I doubt that gives anyone a better view of the story than someone who read a transcript. All that would have been missed would have been the fashion show. But, an article that tries to put bankruptcy back on the table after ratings increases by the agencies and the company moving maturities out and defeasing the rest of the near term debt, is off the mark on that point.

    And, there is a recession on the horizon in the US? Not in any scenario I have seen from the economists. And, questioning the company's ability to keep the stores fresh for Christmas makes no sense either. The goods are in the pipeline. No vendor pulls back now. What would they do with the goods?

    The real question is can Ellison deliver 5 to 6 percent comps for the next two,years and gross margin above 36.5 percent without ramping up SGA? I think he can, but that is the risk, not bankruptcy or vendors pulling out.

    And, by the way, if Sears is not a major competitor in soft lines to JCP, why did Sears see its first double digit positives comps in soft lines when JCP was running its huge negative comps under RJ? Sears has an 83 percent overlap in footprint with JCP, and probably almost that high in price point overlap. Yes, they are direct competitors in soft home and apparel basics, and always have been.
    Oct 14 12:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • J.C. Penney to recommence Analyst Day events [View news story]
    Don't be absurd. The whole effort over the past decade is to keep the analysts and the investment bankers separate. If the investment bank was doing deals at the same time that the analysts were pushing the stock or the bonds that they were offering, you would at least have an would still be wrong...but at least the data would be going your way. With the way this is going here, it looks more like the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing...which is the way the government (the SEC) wants it. By the way, I am positive on JCP.
    Oct 7 08:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tuesday Morning: Making The Hard Decision [View article]
    I am a fan of Tuesday, and of what the new management is accomplishing and has accomplished. But, to mention Kohl's and Dillard's as competition and leave out the most serious competition in the department store space, a revitalized JC Penney, and the baddest boy on the block, Macy, strikes me as disingenuous.
    Oct 7 07:01 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • J.C. Penney to recommence Analyst Day events [View news story]
    Yes, my number is $14.65, but I really expect to see that between holiday and JCP's year end release, which will not be until the end of February 2015.
    Oct 5 08:46 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • J.C. Penney to recommence Analyst Day events [View news story]
    Analyst Day's usually come with good news. I will be there, and all ears! But, with gas dropping below $3.20 nationally, the consumer will have an "extra" thirty billion dollars in his/her pocket. (Therefore so will the retailer:) Penney, along with all the rest of the Omnichannel retailers, could see a real lift in the back half. I am predicting the strongest back half for soft goods in five years. And, if gas falls through three bucks...Katie bar the door!
    Oct 3 03:36 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tuesday Morning Has Reached 52-Week Highs; More Room To Fall [View article]
    I do not trade any retail stocks, I analyze them for a living. Since the first of September I have visited 8 TM stores in PA, and another 3 in NJ. I realize that is still a very small sample of the 810 stores and may not be representative. (I have regularly visited TM stores for the past two years.) What I saw in the new floor set in the 11 stores I visited looks like a most remarkable turnaround. The "seasonal" home d├ęcor items up front are vastly improved. The aisle that I can only describe as "Cost Plus/World Market meets Tuesday Morning" is quite good. Housekeeping is much improved. The bad apparel that was never a good idea at TM is gone. The stores look like stores in the early stage of a merchandising turnaround. Describing this as merely a cost cutting fix is very unfair. Certainly the jury is still out, but when a store bottoms at 90 bucks a square foot or so, recovers to 110 dollar a square foot or so, and then starts significantly improving the merchandise assortment and housekeeping, and its comparable competitors run 300 bucks a square foot, there could be a lot of good things yet to happen. Being short here could be very painful.
    Sep 27 07:47 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • With J.C. Penney Struggling, Where Will It Be In 2020? Foreclosed? [View article]
    I considered taking this article on item by item, and then I decided it was hardly worth the time at my rate of pay. In brief, this is one of the least useful, least insightful articles I have read re JCP, maybe re retail in general. JCP is good for $14.65 in the near future. That is certainly upside enough to own them for anyone reading this post, and the writer of this article does not even seem to doubt that.
    Sep 18 08:55 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • J.C. Penney: Saying Sayonara To The Bankruptcy Discount [View article]
    What, you could not just say $14.65 like I have, and reevaluate at that point? C'mon, man, take a position...even if it is wrong. I am frequently wrong, but never in doubt...$14.65.
    Sep 1 11:01 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Don't Be Surprised When J.C. Penney Blows It Away On Gross Margins [View article]
    Interesting question. I am only really looking at the next couple of years. Remember, when I got in the business there were about 150 department store names even though the consolidation had begun with Federated, Associated, May Department stores, Allied Stores and Mercantile owning many of the names after the first wave of consolidation. In those days we did not even consider Sears or Penney a department store. They were mass merchants. And, Kohl's was a discount department store. Today, even including Sears, Penney and Kohl's there are only a couple of hands full of department store names. So, yes, I think that Penney is recovering nicely from the debacle that Ron Johnson instituted. But, it is not like Penney was running all that well when Ron arrived. After all, that is why he arrived. And, actually, I thought Ron's concepts were brilliant. I was just sure that they were not going to work in an 1100 store chain with an established clientele before the company would go broke...and I was right. Mike has stabilized the business and he has a great operating CFO in Ed Record. But, Macy is a fierce competitor with a big head start. Kohl's, while wounded, is one of the great success stories in department store retailing. Thankfully, Sears/Kmart has about $14 billion in soft goods sales to surrender over time, and they are Penney's most direct competitor. So, Penney does have a runway. But, after the recovery, they are still just a "big, dumb" department store until they take the next step. Right now, we do not even know what they next step is. That does not mean that I am not optimistic about their success over the next two years...I am.
    Jul 18 04:01 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Don't Be Surprised When J.C. Penney Blows It Away On Gross Margins [View article]
    Drawing conclusions from one visit to one store makes me crazy. I walked over 100 (I quit counting when I hit 100) JCP stores in the quarter that Ron Johnson announced Fresh Air. And, I have been walking stores professionally for 50 years, or so. When I was in management at a retailer, I was out walking stores every week, both ours and competitors...I still am, every single week, not for an hour or two, and not one store. Sure you can go in any one store at any one time and find all kinds of things not to like. It is retailing. But, I am telling you that Penney gets better in most stores with every new delivery of product. The customer service is at least as good as it has ever been. If you want to be negative based on financial leverage or competitive pressure fine, those are reasonable arguments. But, quit trying to tell me that the operations, traffic, and sales are not getting better. It simply is not true
    Jul 17 08:50 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Don't Be Surprised When J.C. Penney Blows It Away On Gross Margins [View article]
    I went negative on JCP after attending RJ's Fresh Air meeting, and stayed negative until the stock fell to the mid teens. I then got off the negative way too soon and the stock fell to five dollars. At 5 bucks I bet one of the CNBC anchors that the stock would double to 10 bucks before year end 2014. It got close and fell back. I still expect to win the bet. Penney stores look stronger with every visit I make and I am in stores every week. I think they will just continue to improve, and that gross margin will improve as well. I think that they will go cash flow positive and begin to delever late in 2015. Will that get the stock above mid teens? Hard to say.
    Jul 14 08:20 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment