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Struggling JCPenney Sees Chief Customer Officer Resign After Just Nine Months

Ella Chochrek

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After only nine months, Shawn Gensch has resigned from his post as JCPenney EVP and chief customer officer.

Gensch started at the Plano, Texas-based firm in June, reporting directly to CEO Jill Soltau. Gensch had recently held the same role at Sprouts Farmers Market and had previously worked for Target Corp. for a decade. As JCP’s chief customer officer, he led all aspects of the company’s marketing strategies and initiatives.

“Shawn Gensch resigned from his position as executive vice president and chief customer officer at JCPenney,” a JCPenney spokesperson told FN. “The company thanks Shawn for his contributions in developing the Plan for Renewal and building a strong team of marketing leaders.”

Upon Gensch’s hiring last spring, Soltau said she expected him to be “instrumental in developing a compelling brand identity that builds meaningful connections with new shoppers, and strengthens relationships with our most loyal customers.”

Gensch’s departure comes amid ongoing struggles for JCPenney, which made the list of S&P Global Market Intelligence’s “most vulnerable” publicly traded retailers earlier this month. As parts of its turnaround plan, the chain hired debt restructuring advisers in July and announced a ThredUp partnership in August, with 30 of its stores offering a selection of the consignment company’s secondhand products. Last month, JCP also announced plans to close six stores.

The company hasn’t posted a sales gain since the 2017 holiday season but appeared to be showing modest signs of hope in its third-quarter earnings report, posting narrower-than-expected losses and upgrading its full-year outlook. The retailer will report its Q4 earnings on Thursday; analysts expect adjusted losses per share of $0.06 cents, with revenues of $3.44 billion. JCP shares are currently trading at less than $1, putting the firm at risk of being delisted from the New York Stock Exchange.

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