Who Will Be the Next J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP)?

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Who Will Be the Next J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP)?

By Diane Alter, Contributing Writer, Money Morning

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) brought in Ron Johnson as CEO in January 2012, hoping he could transform the company.

Instead, during his 16 months at the helm, the retailer's losses reached nearly $1 billion and revenue plunged 25%.

That's because Johnson took away much of what Penney shoppers loved - coupons and sales -
and replaced them with what the store called low everyday prices. Store makeovers and changes in brands during Johnson's tenure also drove away customers who preferred the old Penney's.

Penney's target customers - women, particularly mothers - fled to rivals like Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT).

"The challenge, I think, was moving too fast, too radical - and expecting that everybody was just waiting for the second coming of Penney's," Ken Nisch, head of retail brand and design firm JGA, told USA Today.

Meanwhile, morale at Penney's sunk in part because of Johnson's insistence on working from California instead of at the company's Plano, TX, headquarters.

Now, as Penney's seeks to rebound - with Johnson's predecessor, Mike Ullman, as interim CEO - the company's greatest value could be in its real estate, and going private may be its best best.


The retailer's flop begs the question: Which company will be next to fail?

The Next J.C. Penney

Here are four companies in danger of failing at their attempts to revitalize:

That didn't happen after Schulze failed to line up financing. But he became chairman emeritus and aimed to guide Best Buy back to its electronics retailing roots.

His goal is to improve operations by cutting costs and driving efficiencies, and he delivered results. About two weeks ago, Best Buy announced it would team up with Samsung Electronics on a store-within-a-store concept. And thus far this year, BBY stock has been on a tear, up 103%.

But earnings are forecast to plunge 16%, to $2.20 a share, which would be the lowest in nine years.

  • Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY): Many considered Best Buy's demise imminent at the start of the year before founder Richard Schulze, who helped make the chain a retail electronics giant in the mid-2000s, announced he was going to take the struggling company private.
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