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About JC Penney:
J. C. Penney
, and formerly
) is a chain of
The company operates
1,060 department stores in 49
(JCPenney once operated
in Hawaii) and
Puerto Rico, and
previously operated a catalog business and several discount outlets.
In addition to selling
conventional merchandise, JCPenney stores often house several leased departments such as
and jewelry repair.
Most JCPenney stores
are located in
Before 1966, most of its stores were located in downtown areas. As shopping malls became more popular during the
latter half of the 20th century, JCPenney followed the trend by relocating and developing stores to anchor the
malls. In more recent years, the chain has continued to follow consumer traffic, echoing the retailing trend of
opening some freestanding stores, including some next door to competitors. Certain stores are located
The company has been an Internet retailer since 1998. It has streamlined its catalog and distribution while
On January 24, 2011,
JCPenney announced it would exit the catalog business and close all 19 of its catalog outlet stores.
An additional seven
stores, two call center facilities, and one customer decorating facility would also be closed.
One of the JCPenney
Outlet Stores that closed, at
(now Philadelphia Mills
was replaced on March 2, 2012 by a regular JCPenney store.
On February 12,
The New York
exposed the company's
use of link schemes—"spamdexing"—to
increase the JCPenney web site's ranking in
especially during the holiday season. Doug Pierce, an expert in
described the optimization as "the most ambitious attempt to game Google's search results that he has ever
seen." Ultimately, Google took retaliatory action and drastically reduced the visibility of JCPenney in
searches. Although the retailer denied any involvement, it fired its search engine consulting firm,
In June 2011,
JCPenney announced that
would become the
company's new CEO.
In October 2011,
JCPenney sold the 15 remaining catalog outlet stores to SB Capital Group. These stores will remain open then
transition to JC's 5 Star Outlets.
On December 7, 2011,
JCPenney announced the acquisition of 16.6 percent of
Martha Stewart Living
stock. JCPenney plans
to put "mini-Martha Stewart shops" in many of its stores in 2013, as well as starting a website
In January 2012, the
company's chief operating office at the time, Michael Kramer, revealed to the
that more than 30
percent of the bandwidth of JCPenney's headquarters was used for the viewing of
videos during that
month alone. Kramer consequently terminated the tenures of 1600 employees to change the company's workplace
On February 1, 2012,
JCPenney began a new pricing method, with "Every Day" prices on most days reflecting what used to be sale
prices, "Monthly Value" for certain items every month in place of sales, and "Best Price" the first and third
Fridays of each month, tied to paydays.
Prices would also not
end in 9 or 7, instead using whole figures when pricing items.
The changes in the
stores include a focus on the mini-stores such as those for Martha Stewart products.
In April 2012, the
company announced plans to trim its workforce, laying off nearly 13% of its home office staff in Dallas, and
closing a call center in Pittsburgh. Many managers, supervisors and long-time employees were let go on April 30,
2012, due to "simplified practices" that no longer needed as much oversight.
In June 2012, the
company announced that Michael Francis, the company's president, was leaving the company, after only eight months
on the job, effective immediately.
In July 2012, the
company announced that it was laying off 350 more workers at its headquarters.
In August 2012,
JCPenney began rolling out a Shops strategy in stores. The shops are described as stores-within-a-store,
planning to eventually roll out 100 shops in 683 stores. The first shops include Levi's, The Original Arizona
Jean Co., and i jeans by Buffalo.
That month, the company
posted a second quarter comparable-store loss of 22%, with internet sales dropping 33%. At an analyst meeting in
New York the same day, Johnson said, "I’m completely convinced that our transformation is on track." JCPenney's
stock rose 5.9% on Johnson's comments at the analyst meeting, the largest single-day stock increase since late
The "secret" prototype
store is located on the 3rd floor of the store at
in Dallas, which has
been closed to the public.
Fourth quarter sales for JCPenney, in 2012, were poor. Sales were off
28.4% from a year earlier, same store sales were down 32%. Strategic choices made by Johnson a year earlier,
including the change in pricing strategy, were being called into question.
It was announced in
April 2012 that Nickelson Wooster would become the
Wooster stated in an
magazinethat his influence on the brand would begin with spring menswear available as of February
On April 8, 2013, Johnson was fired from JCPenney after 17 months with the
company. Mike Ullman, the retailer's former CEO, was announced as his replacement shortly afterwards—the
official statement claimed that Ullman was "well-positioned to quickly analyze the situation JCPenney faces and
take steps to improve the company’s performance."
Pershing Square Capital
Management, continued his efforts to remove Thomas Engibous, the company's Chairman of the Board of
resigned from the board on August 12, 2013 and two new directors were subsequently appointed to the board, one of
whom is former Macy's vice chairman Ronald Tysoe.
In his statement,
During my time on the JCPenney Board of Directors, I have always advocated
for what I believe to be in the best interests of the Company—its stockholders, employees and others. At this
time, I believe that the addition of two new directors and my stepping down from the Board is the most
constructive way forward for JCPenney and all other parties involved.
On September 26,
2013, JCPenney, with Goldman Sachs as the sole underwriter, announced plans to issue 84 million shares of its
stock. The move stood in contrast with CEO Mike Ullman's remarks from earlier that day, whereby he did not
foresee "conditions for the rest of the year that would warrant raising liquidity."
During a November
2013 conference call to
announced that JCP is "restoring initial markups necessary to support the return [to a] promotional department
store strategy" with "gross margins, currently 29.5 percent of sales versus 32.5 percent a year ago, were lower due
to the impact of clearance sales to eliminate inventory overhang and to transition back to the promotional pricing
strategy the company is known for".
Ullman is removing
returning to security tags because
has "added 100 basis
points on margins in the third quarter".
Various analysts have
mixed reviews of JCP's future.
On December 1, 2013,
J.C. Penney was replaced by
S&P cited J.C
Penney's 37% fall in market value to $2.7 billion (equivalent to $2.74 billion in 2016) was "more
representative of the mid-cap market." J.C. Penney replaced
from the S&P MidCap
On January 15, 2014,
J.C. Penney announced it is closing 33 underperforming stores and laying off 2,000 employees.
CEO Mike Ullman
explained in a news release, "As we continue to progress toward long-term profitable growth, it is necessary to
reexamine the financial performance of our store portfolio and adjust our national footprint
In the later parts of 2013, Soros Fund Management sold away over 19
million shares after only owning them for a few months, originally purchasing them in April
Meanwhile, J.C. Penney's stock has continued its decline until their first
quarter results in 2014 showed signs of improvement, and sent the share value back into the double
In October 2014 it was announced that the company would be tapping former
Home Depot executive Marvin Ellison to take on the role of CEO starting in November 2014.
In January 2015, it
was announced that JCPenney would close 39 underperforming stores nationwide and lay off 2,250
That same year, the
company announced that it was liquidating its The Foundry Big & Tall Supply Co. chain of standalone clothing
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