It is widely conceded that JCP is in bad shape thanks to almost a year of RJ's blunders and missteps. The big question is: "What is there left for Ullman to work with?" The company has been burning through cash, lost many experienced employees, filled the corporate ranks with RJ's "team" and is in the midst of a physical revamp of the stores. JCP has still not managed to rebuild its customer base and revenue languishes is negative territory. Ullman's "wiggle room" is sorely limited, thanks to RJ and Ackman.
Eye-opening comments excerpted from today's article: "J.C. Penny board comes under fire for CEO switch" - Reuters, April 9"
- "The board said in a statement it picked Ullman because he was well-positioned to move quickly and improve sales, but Ullman himself conceded in an interview that the change was so new he did not yet have a plan. He said the board only approached him last weekend."
- "Ackman handpicked Johnson to replace Ullman, and in May 2012 said the company had been "chronically mismanaged" during Ullman's tenure. Ackman could not be reached for comment, but said last Friday that criticism of Johnson "is deserved."
- "When you get a board that keeps making errors like that, then you start to lose faith not just in the CEO, but in the board as well," said Hodgson. "I think at the next annual meeting, the shareholders will be registering their dissatisfaction with the board."
I agree strongly with this post. I suspect that Ullman was only the choice after no one else would take the job out of fear of either being set up to fail, being scapegoated, or it being a hopeless task from the getgo. We also know that the Q numbers are going to be a flaming disaster (otherwise, RJ would not have been fired). Probably no meaningful progress was made in bringing customers back. The M/MSO lawsuit is unresolved and the management talent base has been arrogantly gutted in a hubristic, Donald-Trump-ish "You're Fired" display of power. JCP is completely radioactive - I'd love to know who the buyers are at $14 and what they could be thinking.
Agreed. Top talent wasn't exactly lining up for this position. But...after RJ...any port in a storm has to be better than giving RJ more rope. I believe Questrom would have been the better choice. Either wasn't offered or he had the foresight to decline.
I bought a few to short term trade - - - - if it goes straight down from here without an uptick, I lose - - - however it doesn't matter if it dropped 5 more bucks before close and filed BK tomorrow, I'd still sleep well tonight - - - - I don't want to sound like the myriads of pumpers but with all this volume thrown about - - - it wouldn't surprise me if someone wasn't accumulating or adding to a position - - - waiting for buyout???? - - - thinking MU will be capable of turning this around???? - - I still believe you could close half the stores - - - keep only the best - stop building more "stores" - dump any available resources into their WEB presence(it would pay back quickest) - form a REIT with the real estate - - - pay the debt with the proceeds - - - - you're left with a smaller footprint, less expensive operation that probably could turn a profit - - - it wouldn't look much like JCPenney past or present but it could survive
What is rather disconcerting is the fact that the stock is down 10.5% on huge volume (52+ million) at 12:45 EDT. This is a resounding "no confidence" vote by Wall Street. The business press is in a frenzy with negative articles and reports.
TBH I'm surprised it's not down more. I'm aware of the salvage value argument, but I think the salvage value of JCP is a lot lower than it looks when you consider the secondary consequences of its own closure with respect to the value of the locations it occupies. JCP BK would burn a big hole in mall retail commercial property values in something like 1,100 different places at once. Few - of course, some, but few - would command any premium.
One of the major drags on JCP continues to be the lame Board of Directors, only one of whom has any retail experience. For the most part, they have exhibited all the vision and decisiveness of a door #$%$.
"That board reflects the company's Texas roots more than its retail operations. Four directors are or were executives of Texas-based institutions. Aside from Ullman, only one board member has direct retail experience - Leonard Roberts, the former CEO of electronics chain RadioShack Corp. The rest come from consumer products, airlines, media and manufacturing sectors, among others."