JCP’s woes extend to the human-resources front

A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that JCPenney’s 3rd quarter statement to the SEC warned about problems hiring new managers after having “downsized” some of its most experienced associates during its 2012 downsizing. Nobody who has followed JCP this year (or commented, like me, on RetailWire) should be surprised by this development. The only real surprise is that Ron Johnson continues to use the business press (WWD, for example) to wrap his company’s dismal results in shiny gift wrap. My recent comments:

There is a huge disconnect between the sanguine public face that Ron Johnson has presented to investors and the business press, and the much more serious situation described in the latest SEC filing. Describing it as “malfeasance” may be too strong a word, but many RetailWire panelists saw the morale issues coming a long time ago. It’s not just a matter of a reduced workforce (in the stores and especially at corporate headquarters) but a perception that JCP is in a downward spiral; this makes it nearly impossible to recruit new talent to replace the “legacy” managers who were let go.

The other part of the SEC filing is equally revealing, since it speculates that JCP’s changes in marketing and merchandising may cause a risk to the business if customers reject the new strategy. Oh, really?!?


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