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Dick Seesel

Principal
Retailing In Focus LLC

Reimagine That: J.C. Penney Has Morale Problem

December 6, 2012

FROM RETAILWIRE:
While many point to changes in pricing and promotion as the why behind plummeting sales at J.C. Penney, another reason may have been spelled out in Penney's recent SEC filing: workforce reductions. Do you think J.C. Penney management has lost or is in danger of losing the faith of its employees?      [more...]

MY COMMENTARY:

There is a huge disconnect between the sanguine public face that Ron Johnson has presented to investors and the business press, and the much more serious situation described in the latest SEC filing. Describing it as "malfeasance" may be too strong a word, but many RetailWire panelists saw the morale issues coming a long time ago. It's not just a matter of a reduced workforce (in the stores and especially at corporate headquarters), but a perception that JCP is in a downward spiral; this makes it nearly impossible to recruit new talent to replace the "legacy" managers who were let go.

The other part of the SEC filing is equally revealing, since it speculates that JCP's changes in marketing and merchandising may cause a risk to the business if customers reject the new strategy. Oh, really?!?

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