Posted by Dale Buss on October 21, 2013 07:16 PM
Ever since JCPenney CEO Myron Ullman said a few weeks ago that he didn't think the chain's Martha Stewart housewares were all that great, it's been obvious that he wanted to end tensions with Macy's over the rivals' litigation involving home goods designed by Stewart's company.
On Monday, JCPenney and Martha Stewart Living announced a revised agreement that eliminates Stewart's products in home-goods categories to which Macy's claims exclusive rights. In other words, JCPenney has completely backed down over Macy's central complaint in the litigation. And now the only big thing to be determined is whether Macy's will receive a damage award when the judge's final ruling in the case comes, probably later this week.
JCPenney and Stewart also are walking back other aspects of their two-year-old agreement, by swapping the 11 million shares in Stewart's company that JCPenney purchased; JCPenney also will give up its two seats on the board of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. The only remnant of the deal is that the retailer still will sell a small batch of Stewart products, including window treatments and party supplies.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 10, 2013 11:36 AM
If Ron Johnson were dead, he'd be spinning in his grave. Instead, the ousted CEO of JCPenney can simply watch from afar as his predecessor-turned-successor Myron Ullman dismantles the former Apple retail head's failed ambitious plan to transform the venerable retailer, piece by piece.
The latest back-to-the-future moves by Ullman? Scrapping the simple new logo that Johnson instituted as well as some of the ad-agency help that he hired. Such gambits are part of Ullman's efforts to ensure that Penney has bottomed out as the crucial 2013 holiday shopping season gets underway.
Johnson introduced the red-framed logo last year to great fanfare, "updating" the marque to simply "jcp" in a blue box in the upper-left corner of a square that was intended to invoke an American flag with its patriotic colors.
Instead, it became just another reminder to JCPenney's traditional customers that Johnson didn't really care about their business. So the old "JCPenney" logo in a simple red font is back—albeit slightly updated—marking the fourth logo in as many years for the embattled department store brand.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 30, 2013 05:41 PM
Forget covetous little kids: Christmas can't come soon enough for JCPenney, because its very survival could depend on whether consumers load up its stocking—or leave the struggling retailer with a giant lump of coal.
The chain announced last week that it would sell 84 million shares of stock in a secondary offering. That promised to feed JCPenney with enough cash to keep the doors open for a while. But even that move included strong strains of the brand's desperate position because the financing of up to $932 million could represent more than one-third of the company's total capitalization these days.
And investors late last week didn't take much solace in the move either, pushing JCPenney's share price down by another 10 percent.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 13, 2013 10:06 AM
It's not the same kind of drama he created on the witness stand in the Macy's suit against JCPenney and Martha Stewart last spring. But Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren can still generate some anxiety when he calls store managers from his car as little as 10 minutes before conducting a surprise visit. "The first five minutes are a little uncomfortable," he told Bloomberg.
These drop-ins have taken on added urgency for Lundgren and the chain, the publication noted, as Macy's struggles like many other retail chains with the slow-growth American economy, in which middle-income shoppers particularly are feeling a financial pinch. The iconic department store brand also is trying to do a better job of exploiting its digital database on customers without tripping on privacy issues.
Neither the back-to-school season nor a cool summer across much of the country nor even anticipation of the winter holiday season has helped national department store retailers regain the mojo that they last possessed before the Great Recession. The largest US department store chain, Macy's last month reported second-quarter profits that missed estimates and lowered its forecast.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 5, 2013 05:41 PM
In a major move worthy of the strongest comparisons to SNL's Roseanne Roseannadanna, JCPenney CEO Myron Ullman reportedly has said he no longer wants Martha Stewart home merchandise in the retailer's stores.
The New York Post reported the blockbuster news that Ullman wants to pull the plug on the Martha Stewart designs that are the subject of a bitter lawsuit between Macy's and an alliance of JCPenney and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. And the judge hasn't even ruled on the case yet.
Earlier this year, JCPenney actually had begun to roll out several home lines of new Stewart-designed products under its deal with her, even as the trial was going on. The partnership with Martha Stewart was a major move made by previous JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson in his efforts to transform the retail brand, but Macy's objected vigorously to it because the rival chain insisted it had an exclusive deal with Stewart for such wares.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 20, 2013 06:06 PM
For JCPenney, rewinding the recent past has continued to key a brighter future. That was apparent in fiscal-second-quarter results, released today, that showed the brand slowing its sales decline to only 12 percent year-on-year—a brutally negative figure that was only brightened by comparison with the 23 percent quarterly sales decline a year earlier.
With activist investor Bill Ackman out of the way, or at least off the JCPenney board, and his support shored up, CEO Myron Ullman apparently sees positive glimmers of the old JCPenney that he ran until a couple of years ago. The closer the retailer returns to the strategy he followed before giving way to Ron Johnson as CEO, Ullman is indicating, the greater chance JCPenney has of surviving.
"There are no quick fixes to correct the errors of the past," he said in a statement. "Moving forward, we're focusing our efforts on regaining customer loyalty by offering trusted brands, award-winning service and affordability that families can depend on."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 1, 2013 09:31 AM
Lululemon insider says brand purposely shuns plus-size customers.
JCPenney says it has backing after reports that lender cut funding to clothing suppliers, and clash with Macy's over Martha Stewart nears end.
Starbucks and Google partner on Wi-Fi upgrade at restaurants.
Abbott nutritional brands poised to benefit from changing demographics.
Chrysler finds trucks and SUVs powering 40th consecutive month of sales increases.
Diageo is desperate to "crack the code" for North American beer.
Estee Lauder aims to brand beauty sleep.
Facebook now lets users embed public posts on other websites.
Farmers Insurance revamps logo.
Ford settles with US on delayed recall.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 1, 2013 06:12 PM
JCPenney's brand-resuscitation efforts continued today with a digital-era form of a classic corporate move: the mea culpa.
The company launched a virtual apology tour on Facebook, YouTube (watch below) and Twitter to get the message out to customers—those same customers that now-ousted CEO Ron Johnson in large part ignored for more than a year—that the brand is sorry and wants them to come back.
According to Bloomberg, the campaign was developed on Johnson's watch and implemented by Sergio Zyman, the former Coca-Cola marketing executive who will go down in history as the architect of the New Coke fiasco.Continue reading...