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  • J.C. Penney: Ron Johnson's Mistake Was Fair And Square Pricing [View article]
    Here's your core argument --

    Fair and Square pricing ruined JCP because Ron Johnson didn't appreciate that people who aren't zillionaires like him desire good prices.

    Here's what's wrong with it --

    a. This is the run of the mill bigotry argument. (Lots of people hate anything to do with Apple. I think you're on of them.)

    b. You didn't specify what exactly was wrong about the fair and square prices that failed. Because you're not a customer but a pundit. If you were an alert customer you could simply state that under FAIR AND SQUARE prices went up at JCP.

    Worse --

    c. -- new product hadn't arrived yet.

    What I don't get is that you seem to know this now --

    "I do worry that a new CEO will alienate the customer base further as this essentially says that the new stores aren't so great, this could have negative consequences for Joe Fresh and other stores."

    Exactly. Before Ron had even given a name to FAIR AND SQUARE the board had p!ssed all over the old JCPenney store simply by appointing a showy CEO.

    In this way it had nothing to do with Ron Johnson personally.
    Apr 9 11:29 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Goodbye Ron Johnson: J.C. Penney In Flux [View article]
    In 'flux'?

    It's more like JCP just fluxxed itself real good.

    "we are shocked by the timing. If there was any chance that the J.C. Penney turnaround was going to work, Johnson had to be given some additional time to complete the changes."


    My blog will have an article on this soon.
    Apr 9 06:29 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • J.C. Penney Just Sealed Its Fate [View article]
    This move demonstrates what my blog has been saying for months: that the board was more at fault than Ron Johnson.

    By dismissing Ron now you've told every customer that Joe Fresh is for losers. That it didn't work out. As did none of the new brands and new coupons.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    You will now lose every JCPenny you put into this poorly run dump.
    Apr 9 03:10 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Johnson-Less J.C. Penney Is Still Dead In The Water [View article]
    "The only possible saving grace for this company would be to trim a ton of the assets, get the company lean and clean with a brand new business model, and recreate themselves. Unfortunately, it's far too late for J.C. Penney, who remains dead in the water."

    Two investor type friends noticed something I noticed this last week. With the coupons back and all the new interesting products, business was up. People were actually standing in lines holding lots of products.

    It was working.
    Apr 9 06:08 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • J.C. Penney's Desperate Decision [View article]
    "2012 sales plummeted a whopping 25%. Traffic plunged 13%. You'd think getting rid of failed leadership would bring hope to suffering J.C. Penney shareholders - wouldn't you?"

    Apr 9 05:24 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A little courtroom drama flared up today during the trial between Macy's (M +1.8%) and J.C. Penney (JCP +2.2%) with accusations leveled at JCP that it's selling products on its website in breach of an agreement to stop showcasing certain categories. The judge in the case will rule on the issue tomorrow. The bigger issue: J.C. Penney needs a win or a settlement in the case to avoid losses on inventory and a gaping hole in the retailer's line of home goods. [View news story]
    Are they saying JCP isn't allowed to showcase any home items because people might confuse it with Martha Stewart? If so that's ridiculous.
    Apr 8 02:37 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • J.C. Penney (JCP) CEO Ron Johnson's pay fell sharply last year as the company struggled to get its footing. The absence of stock awards meant Johnson made only $1.9M in 2012, a far cry from the $53.3M in total compensation he received a year earlier.  [View news story]
    There was nothing stronger than JCP's brand before Ron Johnson was hired to change things. The JCP brand made Macy's, Nordstrom's, and Bloomingdales look like the sad stoic discounters they are. JCP was equal to Apple in brand.

    I know the people in charge of JCPenney sure didn't want Ron Johnson or any new CEO to screw with this success. Therefore they can't be the least bit to blame -- since they had nothing to do with hiring Ron or determining his salary. Ron simply wanted to become CEO of JCP and so he walked in and took over -- without resume or interview -- and named his price/gave it to himself.

    When Ron announced that he would rebrand JCP, I -- like you -- was of course shocked. But I expected him to accomplish this rebranding quickly. And with rising stock value, not falling. Because dumping one set of customers for another set of customers is not only easy... but always INSTANTLY profitable unless you're an imbecile.
    Apr 2 06:13 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The 8 Point Path To J.C. Penney's Obsolescence [View article]
    I here you. Math is math... and math rules. But my issue is I read too many comments by people who only see the math and not the stores.

    I know someone who ignored Starbucks for years. Not a quality coffee drinker. Then they invested in Starbucks because they thought it was a good stock. Then they started going there.

    See the problem?
    Mar 28 06:15 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The 8 Point Path To J.C. Penney's Obsolescence [View article]
    "The issue, in a nutshell, is whether there will be enough Joe Fresh customers out there to match the number of core customers who are leaving JC Penney behind."

    In a nutshell, you're right. But you haven't stated this truth completely. It's not just Joe Fresh. It's all the newer brands that have been introduced and that are coming. And if there will be enough time and money to introduce the bigger picture.

    Most articles piss and moan about the brand and terrible sales during a rebranding. Said articles (like this one) fail to factor in what JCP is doing right and -- even more important -- how they are positioned. In that nutshell: you'd have to be an idiot to ever shop for clothes at Target, Walmart, Sears -- and -- typically (but not always) you'd be a buffoon to shop at Macys, Dillards, Gap, Banana, Anthro, etcetera.

    The Wall Street types that write these articles don't shop. It's as simple as that. If they shopped and compared what's out there to JCP, they'd be salivating for this store to survive. Begging investors for patience.

    Check this out --

    This is an amazing denim blazer I now own. I thought the asking price was a steal. That SALE price is INSANE. And every (?) JCP customer just got a $10 off $25 coupon in the mail recently. So YOU could own that blazer for $25. (Since most of us aren't black body builder types, let me assure you a white pastie guy with a slight belly looks just fine in it.)

    By the by: on that same page, on the lower right, is a picture of a similar item. A JF Grey cotton jacket. Click on it and guess what happens? SOLD OUT. This thing came into JCP and the site and is now completely gone in under two months. It flew out of there faster than Ron from Plano.

    Do articles like this know this?
    Mar 24 02:44 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The 8 Point Path To J.C. Penney's Obsolescence [View article]
    This article has a cake and eat it too mentality. It says JCP should be doing things it is doing.. but not do them also. It suggests the current strategy is wrong but that a non-specified better strategy is obviously better.

    "The company is stuck on a mezozoic era branding problem, and has failed to make massive, paradigm shifting changes to their business. They are not focusing enough on online sales and younger generations, all the while seriously burning through cash."

    Yes, JCP is an old brand. That's true. And in some ways worse than the Eastman Kodak brand. When digital photography was taking off, people didn't look at Kodak film as something sad their parents might have used (like Sears and JCP). It was just something old that was going away, with no real ill will.

    JCPenney's branding problem is that 'good riddance' thing that is deadly. And it was there in spades before Ron Johnson ever flew into Plano. What's fascinated me most about Ron taking this job is that it was basically a no-win scenario from the start. Saying JCPenney to a teenage invokes vomit in the back of the mouth.

    The quote I included from the article above says JCP isn't focusing enough on younger generations. Ahem. Ask ANY frumpy over 40 customer who's left the store and you hear the exact opposite. They fear Ron is trying to turn JCPenney into FOREVER 21. And if DREAMPOP, L'AMOUR, DURO, & JOE FRESH aren't aimed at younger generations -- you've never stepped foot inside the new JCP. Yes, even the new JCP brand is aimed younger with its bright colors -- or do you really think neon yellow denim jackets are aimed at church ladies?

    A question: how do you make massive, paradigm shifting changes without seriously burning through cash? That's the cake and eat it to part.

    Somehow the author believes that converting hundreds and hundreds of stores Ron's way should have been a bargain. Those new clothing lines I just mentioned didn't just walk up to JCP with big smiles and say, "Put us in your hundreds of stores for free." The old employees were mostly deadwood in comparison to vision of the new JCP. You think hiring and firing thousands of employees is free? And should you burn through cash to advertize these big changes or simply save your money and have absolutely no one aware of what you're doing?

    The entire argument of this article falls apart here. Worse -- it suggests that Ron should have done something WAY BIGGER while somehow spending LESS MONEY. Yeeaaah riiiiight.

    Do WHAT, exactly? "Focus more on online sales." It's a CLOTHING store. You know why Anthro and Urban Outfitters and Free People all do so well (from the same company)? They have beautiful stores where you get to see a handful of beautiful merchandize that's priced out of the stratosphere. They're not a .com and never could be.

    Human beings need to see clothing on, and unless I'm missing something: it's cheaper for companies to have stores instead shipping everything in them back and forth to you to try on.

    So what's the new JCP doing? Trying to convert their old ugly stores into experiences that enter the ballpark of what Anthro and Urban Outfitters are dong. Not the same experiences, of course, but not be out of the game either. In a way JCP is the cheap seats -- but that's not all bad. Why? Their prices are insanely great, to quote Ron's boss.

    My wife was an Anthro customer. They've lost almost all of her business to JCP. Especially thanks to Joe Fresh. I'm not just saying this. It's true. Sure, Joe Fresh feels like an Apple Store and Anthro feels like an old country barn in Hipsterville -- BUT -- for the price of one top in Anthro my wife can get two tops and two shorts at Joe Fresh.


    My wife doesn't care about the JCP brand. Because she's not buying JCP. She's buying Joe Fresh IN a JCP.

    Now the article gets right that there's nothing exciting about new Liz Claiborne and new Levis -- since neither are new. What the article misses is that it takes time to create entire new lines from scratch and so what JCP was/is doing is polishing up brands they had while creating new lines altogether. Otherwise the stores would have had to be shut down altogether for a year or so.

    Tell me: why doesn't this article specify just that? Why didn't the author simply cut and paste a link to his prior article entitled, "JCP should close down for a year or so, layoff almost everyone, and come back with all new brands and stores -- including a new name."

    That's a massive paradigm shifting business idea, isn't it? The reason said article was never written is that it's based on pipe dreams instead of reality.

    The reality is, yes, that there are way too many clothing stores. Absolutely. But when people speak of JCP they don't speak of other retailers. You know those Express stores in malls? If you're not exactly sure of what I mean by Express my point is already made. They sell clothes to younger peeps. I have to pass by an Express every time I go to JCP. The store is nearly empty at every pass.

    As the article suggests clothing retail is on the decline. And I see stuff in that express that is as 'interesting' as the JCP brand. But the prices? Haha. Buy two overpriced items and get half off one of them? Kiss my grits, Mel.

    JCP needs time to keep doing what they're doing. If they finish what they start, JCP is going to rob Target of sales blind. Anyone who shops at JCP feels this already -- but we're simply waiting.

    By the by -- the one thing this article and my blog agree upon -- screw Martha Stewart. Go to Macy's and look at customer ratings of her products.

    They suck.
    Mar 23 03:51 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • J.C. Penney (JCP +5.4%) turns higher with the word on the street that weekend sales for Joe Fresh lines were solid. The brand is the latest boutique shops idea to spring up at the retailer and by most accounts one of the most promising. (Also: ISI Group pitches REIT play for JCP[View news story]
    When a line is introduced in stores Friday and you see $29 pieces selling out by Monday, the line is a promising success.
    Mar 18 02:20 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • J.C. Penney: Is The End Near? [View article]
    "I don't see where I claimed that eliminating sales killed JCP's numbers. I simply stated what the strategy was. Nothing more."

    Incorrect. You said his lowest price campaign have dramatically failed to make things go Ron's way. Here's the proof --

    "Johnson established its "lowest price" campaign whose goal was to sell merchandise every day for sale-level prices so customers wouldn't have to wait for a sale event. While initial reaction and results to the plan were encouraging, it proved to be nothing more than a temporary boost to the bottom line. It's been over a full year since Johnson announced his turnaround strategy and to say that things haven't gone his way would be an understatement."

    And you do this switcharoo again here:

    "I also don't see where I claim that everyday low pricing went away. I said they brought back sales to augment the existing strategy."

    No you didn't. You said JCP 'backtracked' and asked why "should an investor be sold on Johnson's turnaround strategy when it's already switched back to the old way of doing things?"

    They didn't go back to the old way. The adapted the new way (offering suggested retail prices on everyday prices) with brought back old sales and coupons customers demanded. Which you don't say anywhere.
    Mar 12 05:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is something brewing at J.C. Penney? Chatter has picked up that a CEO resignation could be upcoming for the retailer. Also in the mix, tomorrow the company's CFO is scheduled to give a talk at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2013 Consumer and Retail Conference. Traders are betting something is in the wind, JCP +3.1% lickety-split. [View news story]
    Blinking would be JCP's biggest mistake.
    Mar 12 03:27 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • J.C. Penney (JCP +1.9%) puts a damper on the mini-rally in its own shares by telling Bloomberg that CEO Ron Johnson has "no plans" to leave the company. Cynics like John Carney wonder if the board just floated a trial balloon to see what shares would be without RJ at the rudder? [View news story]
    This only further confirms my new belief that Wall Street types are complete idiots.
    Mar 12 03:27 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • J.C. Penney: Is The End Near? [View article]
    This is the same cut and paste opinion EVERYWHERE on the net by people who are simply reading each others articles and repeating.

    Here are the logic flaws --

    1. "One of the main features of the strategy was to eliminate event-driven "sale" pricing."

    There's so much wrong here it boggles the mind.

    a. You've set up a no win scenario. Every pundit on the web saying what you're saying claims no sales killed JCP's sales. So now that they're back they're no good either? Which is it?

    b. Every pundit believes that the low everyday pricing went away to bring the sales back. Incorrect. This statement is made by pundits who do not shop the store. I've purchased 3 JCP %100 cotton quality polo shirts for $14 each. Not on sale or clearance. Asking price. Good luck finding such prices elsewhere. And so the point of the strategy was to get people to buy items when they first see them instead of waiting for clearance sales. Did it work?

    c. The new Duro line sold out a signature dress online in 18 days.

    2. Same sales are dramatically down? During a conversion of the store that's about halfway complete at best? Really? You don't say!

    3. 'Massive layoffs.' The store is doing a complete revision of product and purchase. By any definition: this means they're swapping middle aged frumpy dressed clearance addicts for younger couples who'll remain customers longer. THAT means that in the here and now they're between customers. WHICH means business WILL be way down for a while. KNOWING THIS does laying off %16 percent of their work force sound shocking? Not to me. If McDonalds went half vegan tomorrow I'd expect at least %35 of McDonalds to outright close. By announcing a complete change of purpose, JCP ensured that stores would close and jobs would vaporize. And THEN you must deal with the people in JCP who think they don't have to be part of the new vision. Or don't want to be. Deadwood. That alone MUST conservatively account for %10 of the employees.

    4. How do you rebirth a chain without 'burning through cash'?

    5. "The hot rumor is that Johnson is being given until the end of the year to show a meaningful turnaround in the bottom line or he's at serious risk of being fired."

    This is the only reasonable notion in these type of articles. Of course. By then a sizeable chunk of his plans will be in place -- although they may have to look the other way regarding Martha Stewart -- meaning -- if the home product isn't there yet it's kinda hard to judge how it's doing.

    The Martha Stewart business, by the by, is one of the few mistakes I believe Ron has made. It's just ridiculous.

    But trying to bring the store into this century? With pretty new products and displays? At unbeatable initial prices and impressive sales promotions? And letting deadwood go and hiring people actually on board with the new JCP? And spending cash to do it?

    Mostly a sound strategy. I say this as a shopper instead of from an ivory tower.
    Mar 12 07:30 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment