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Three things JC Penney needs to do now

Talking Numbers

Liz Dunn, Consumer Sector Senior Analyst at Macquarie Capital, looks at the three things JC Penney needs to do in the next six months.

Getting Bill Ackman out of JC Penney is one thing. Getting customers into JC Penney is another. And, time may be running out for it to do the latter.

The billionaire hedge fund manager resigned form JC Penney’s board of directors after a well-publicized feud over who was going to be its next CEO. The previous CEO, Apple and Target veteran Ron Johnson, was an Ackman pick who resigned in April after a dismal performance trying to execute his turnaround strategy.

In the meantime, shares are down nearly 36% in 2013. Johnson’s temporary replacement – Myron “Mike” Ullman – is the man Johnson replaced in 2011. Ullman now has to try to save the company before it’s too late.

JC Penney’s sales were brutalized under Johnson’s helm. From over $17 billion in annual revenues for 2011, the topline collapsed to less than $13 billion in the most recent fiscal year. In the last reported quarter, sales fell 16% compared to the same time in 2012.

Now the market waits for the company to report its first Johnson-free quarter in a couple of years and the clock is ticking. Can JC Penney turn itself around from the turnaround that went horribly wrong?

We talk numbers with Liz Dunn, Senior Consumer Analyst at Macquarie Capital. She says there are three things that JC Penney needs to focus on right now if it’s to survive. But, the company is doing so with less cash; a lot was spent under Johnson’s turnaround attempt.

Meanwhile, the charts show this could be a difficult time for shareholders. “This is an extremely dire situation here,” says Talking Numbers contributor Richard Ross. “Retail loves a comeback story but this one’s going to be tough.”

But, can Ullman pull it off?

Watch the video above to hear Dunn’s three things JC Penney needs right now and to see Ross’ charts.

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