Should Penney stop reporting monthly sales?

Two related questions under discussion at RetailWire today: First, is Penney’s announcement that it will stop reporting monthly comp sales the smart thing to do? Second, is JCP moving fast enough on store closures? Here are my thoughts on both issues:

Given the volatility of this stock, and the wild swings up or down at the hint of any news, now is not the right time to discontinue comp-store sales reports each month. More transparency is called for, not less. The vagueness of the December sales comments (compared to the November report) ought to be a lesson to JCP.

To the question about being overstored, the answer is, “Absolutely.” Closing about thirty low-volume locations (judging by several small-town stores being closed here in Wisconsin) barely scratches the surface. If JCPenney wants to convince investors that it’s on the right track, it will take a greater commitment to expense reductions for this downsized company, not just a push toward higher gross margins.

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