If You Lower The Bar It’s Easier to Look Good

jcpennylogo2014I haven’t posted about J.C. Penney in several months, but their CEO has declared that they’re back, so I thought it might be time to chime in. I’ve had lots to say about J.C. Penney since their Board sought to reposition the store and then fired the CEO who was doing it. (Search the archives for J.C. Penney and you can read what I have said before).

The new, new CEO came in about 18 months ago to fix the mess the old, new CEO had created by attempting to re-position Penney’s. Something the Board said they wanted. Unfortunately, as I noted back then, existing customers discover the store they liked is gone before new customers discover a store they could like, so revenue, not surprisingly to me, but apparently to the Board, dropped dramatically.

Well now that the new benchmark for revenue is about $12B/year instead of $17B, the new, new CEO looks great because they are stabilized at that level. Wow, well done.

To be fair however, I have criticized the Board for returning to a strategy that they had declared failed prior to hiring the old new CEO. And the new, new CEO seems to have found a new focus for Penney’s. Their new target customer is “…multi-cultural with two little kids, too little time and too little money…”

I have no idea if this target will achieve their goal and commend them for declaring a target. If  the strategy can achieve the goal, good for them. If not, I won’t be surprised since the Board has proven, at least in my opinion, its incompetence before.


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