An Open Letter To Ron Johnson of JC Penney
You brought credibility and renewed interest in JC Penney since your departure from Apple. You profess confidence in your turnaround strategy, but it’s hard to see how this confidence stems from the company’s results. In your 9 month tenure, JC Penney has gone from a stale and boring but stable company to a train wreck.
The release is below. Here are some quick highlights:
- Same-store sales dropped 22%
- Sales dropped 23%
- Online sales dropped 33%
- Gross margin dropped from 38% to 33%
- The company will miss its targets for the year
The weird thing is I don’t believe the company’s declining performance stems from the pricing strategies you unveiled in January. It’s your marketing.
If you’re not selling on price, you have two other options. To sell on quality or service. Unfortunately neither have received any attention in print or TV advertising. Scant copy, that is often weak like the sample below, supporting unknown brands such as Worthington is not incentive enough to entice consumers to shop your stores or website.
Please do a 180 on your marketing before it’s too late. Define Worthington to consumers. Explain the brands’ position (why it exists and why we should buy it). If the product is good, the quality is there and the price is justified consumers will buy.
Oh, and you might want to take a look at your model selection. They are consistently too hip and too skinny. They don’t resemble any of the shoppers I’ve seen in your stores. Aligning models more closely to the JC Penney target audience might help your marketing make a connection. In case you haven’t noticed the woman up top, from this week’s newspaper insert, needs a cheeseburger – pronto.