SeekingAlpha  Apr 3  Comment 
ByElephant Analytics: One thing that has puzzled me during the debate about J.C. Penney (JCP) is the assertion that J.C. Penney is currently undervalued or cheap. I'm willing to entertain the idea that various factors, such as high short interest,...
DailyFinance  Apr 1  Comment 
Filed under: Company News, JC Penney, Retail Mary Altaffer/AP J.C. Penney is challenged. Against a backdrop of suburban shopping mall decline, the retailer has to attract a new generation while earning forgiveness from the long-time customers it...
Forbes  Apr 1  Comment 
Even an old formula can gain new life with the right retooling and rebranding. Enterprises have been doing this for centuries, sometimes with more success than others. Witness the rebirth of J.C. Penney, the American automotive industry, and now,...
SeekingAlpha  Apr 1  Comment 
By Renu Singh: J.C. Penney (JCP), one of America's largest apparel and home furnishing retailers, has been able to stabilize its business financially and operationally in recent times. When everything looked down and out for Penney, the company...
SeekingAlpha  Mar 28  Comment 
author name submits: Peter Lynch's quip that the "problem with turnarounds is that they seldom turnaround" seems custom-fit to describe what is currently going on at J.C. Penney (JCP). The company seems to be following the same long-term path that...
MarketWatch  Mar 28  Comment 
Experience of StubHub and J.C. Penney suggests people like price tricks.
SeekingAlpha  Mar 26  Comment 
ByElephant Analytics: After taking a look through J.C. Penney's (JCP) 10-K filing, it appears that the surprising Q4 SG&A drop is likely mainly due to timing and accrual reversals. The full-year SG&A number is an accurate reflection of J.C....
SeekingAlpha  Mar 25  Comment 
ByRetail Maven: A story very much like what is occurring at J.C. Penney Hans Christian Anderson, the Danish writer, tells about an Emperor who cared more about lavish clothing than about his empire. His land's finest tailors created...
Wall Street Journal  Mar 24  Comment 
J.C. Penney Co. Chief Executive Myron E. Ullman will get a sizable bump in pay this year.
Reuters  Mar 21  Comment 
Department store J.C. Penney Co Inc said it does not expect the outcome of its pending lawsuit with retailer Macy's Inc over a home products deal with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc to have a material adverse impact on its results.


J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) is a leading department store retailer of apparel, accessories and home furnishings. They produce their own private brands in addition to selling products from other companies.

The company has faced changing consumer tastes in the past years--consumer traffic is being drawn to Wal-Mart (WMT) and Target (TGT) at the expense of department stores such as J.C. Penney and Macy's Inc. (M). In addition, J.C. Penney relies heavily on private labels[1] Although private label products--in order to appeal to as many customers as possible--are not unique enough to compel fashion-conscious consumers to purchase them, they are still a viable option for customers who do not follow trends. JCP also faces lower profit margins in the due to rising commodity costs which will increase its clothing costs.

Business Overview

The company divides its merchandise into several categories which include: men's, women's and children's apparel, accessories and cosmetics; home furnishings; leisure and recreational equipment; jewelry and watches.[2]

Business Growth

Trends and Forces

Private Brands Not Unique Enough to Differentiate from Cheaper Alternatives

Private label brands are produced exclusively for a particular store. For example, J.C. Penney has a number of private label brands including Arizona Jeans Co. and Stafford.[3] Retailers such as Macy's and J.C. Penney find private labels very attractive because the pieces often have higher margins than branded merchandise from other companies. However, the economic crisis of 2008-2009 has made people more reluctant to spend. When consumers have less money to spend, they will be more inclined to spend it on something that excites them. Private label brands, in an effort to appeal to as many consumers as possible, are less likely to spur a person to buy them when disposable income is already scarce.[4] Also, the proliferation of discount retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target and Kohl's (some with their own exclusive brands) means that consumers can trade down to another store if they can no longer afford prices at J.C. Penney. Private label merchandise, by its nature, is not differentiated enough to keep fashion-conscious consumers purchasing them in lieu of lower-priced alternatives.

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J.C. Penney's main competition is mid-tier department stores such as Macy's Inc. (M) and Kohl's (KSS).

  • Macy's Inc. (M) has a higher price point than J.C. Penney and sells more exclusive brands. Although both companies produce private labels, they make less of a contribution to Macy's total sales than they do J.C. Penney. [5] [6]
  • Kohl's (KSS) is slightly smaller than J.C. Penney, both in terms of sales and locations Kohl's also operates at a slightly lower price point. Kohl's position as a discount retailer makes it more attractive for recession-stricken consumers who are looking to save money. Although it has fewer locations than J.C. Penney the fact the company sells its goods online means it is not at a large disadvantage to the larger retailer in terms of accessibility.[7]


  • On July 27, 2011 marketing chief Mike Boylson retired after 32 years working with JCP and 8 years serving in his former position. This will be first time Ron Johnson, who was appointed chief executive of JCP in November 2010, makes a senior-level appointment.[8]


  1. JC Penny 2009 10-k p.22
  2. JCP 2008 Annual Report pg. 2  
  3. JCP 2008 Annual Report pg. 2  
  4. Alexandria Sage. ANALYSIS - Private label eclipsed by brands in US retail slump.
  5. M 2009 Annual Report  
  6. JC Penny 2009 10-k p.22
  7. Discount Retailers Thriving in Recession.
  8. [1]
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