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JC Penney will survive another quarter, but don't expect much more: Macke

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Struggling retailer JC Penney (JCP) is set to report Q1 earnings this afternoon. Is there anything they can say on the call to put whatever investors are left in the stock at ease? Probably not says Jeff Macke. Still he admits “the bar is pretty low. If they managed to keep the lights on for 90 days it is a monumental victory for JC Penney and I think they pulled it off.

That still doesn’t make them anything close to a turnaround story. As Macke puts it the Ron Johnson era of trying to reimagine JC Penney as “hip” simply didn’t work. Current CEO Mike Ullman is just “trying to get JCP back to being a mediocre department store,” Macke says. It might mean JC Penney dies a slow death rather than a fast one but things are still better today than they were this time last year.

At the close of Q1 2013 many analysts were preparing to say goodby to the company altogether. With the return of Ullman last April the company’s downfall was, at the very most, delayed says Macke. “It looks like Mike Ullman has managed to get them liquid enough to keep the doors open again this quarter,” Macke notes.

But that is about all your should expect and that doesn’t mean that there will much, if any, good news this afternoon when their financials come to light.

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