Posted by Dale Buss on April 16, 2013 06:37 PM
Someday, Hollywood may make a movie about the dashing Myron "Mike" Ullman and how he reluctantly came back to rescue JCPenney, the company he loved so much that he was willing to attempt to lead it a second time—after first being rejected by its board in favor of a charismatic new leader, who subsequently laid waste to the enterprise.
But for now, what Ullman is faced with at "JCP" doesn't seem to be shaping up for such an inspiring climax. He and the executives who remain from the Ron Johnson administration appear "to at least understand that [they] have entered the endgame," as the New York Times put it. "But [Ullman] now has to show how he's going to win it."
Clearly, the odds are stacked high against Ullman and even against the future of the company. After a monumental sales slide that has continued to worsen after last year's 25 percent swoon, wholesale layoffs of JCPenney employees that have left those who remain dispirited and overworked, mass confusion of the brand's traditional customer base, a dwindling of financial resources and the sudden and ignominious if inevitable departure of Johnson—not to mention a verdict in JCPenney's litigation against Macy's hanging in the balance—there's not much room for optimism.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 8, 2013 07:12 PM
Ron Johnson has been ousted as CEO of JCPenney as the retailer's board of directors voted on Monday to turn to his predecessor to pull the company out of the death spiral (it lost $4.3 billion in sales last year) on Johnson's watch, rather than give the former Target executive and Apple retail head the extra time he wanted to see his radical vision through to fruition.
Mike Ullman, who had been CEO of JCPenney until 2011, before Johnson, is returning to take the helm again at least for the time being, according to a JCPenney press release:
"The Board of Directors of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. today announced that Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III has rejoined the Company as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. He has also been elected to the Board of Directors. Mr. Ullman is a highly accomplished retail industry executive, who served as CEO of jcpenney until late 2011. He succeeds Ron Johnson, who is stepping down and leaving the Company."
The stock market appreciated the move, which comes on the same day that JCPenney resumed its courtroom clash with Macy's in Manhattan over rights to field the Martha Stewart product lines that Johnson maintained would be crucial to turning around JCPenney's fortunes.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 3, 2013 06:06 PM
It’s been in the hands of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro and now it’s in the hands of a slew of lawyers. The Cuban Cohiba, considered for decades to be the nation’s best cigar and a symbol of high-end swank the world over, has been spending a fair amount of time in court over the last 16 years.
In that time, the issue has been between the General Cigar Co. and Cubatabaco, the Cuban state tobacco company. The pair have been battling over the cigar’s trademark in the United States. Recently, the U.S. Trademark and Appeal Board dismissed Cubatabaco’s petition that was trying to keep General from using the cohiba name in the United States, Cigar Aficionado reports.
That General won the latest round did not sit well with folks in Cuba, where the Havana Times headlined its story about the case with “Cuba’s Cohiba Trademark Theft Gets OK.”
There are, of course, two different cohibas.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 28, 2013 03:25 PM
J.C. Penney recently resumed its marketing strategy of raising prices, then discounting them on its private brands which include St. John's Bay, jcp and Stafford and Arizona, which generate more than half of the company’s overall revenue.
"While our prices continue to represent a tremendous value every day, we now understand that customers are motivated by promotions and prefer to receive discounts through sales and coupons applied at the register," JCP spokeswoman Daphne Avila told Reuters.
That means an Arizona crewneck T-shirt with an "everyday" price of $5 now has a $6 pricetag to accommodate a better markdown and arrive at the same price. The move is an effort to reverse a 25 percent drop in fiscal year sales. The practice is common in retail and used by rivals Macy’s and Kohl's.
“The company said that it has now realized that coupons and sales attract more customers and that this is the market trend,” writes Nautilus Investment Strategies on the reversal of CEO Ron Johnson’s earlier "no sale" stance. “Market analysts feel that at this point no strategy change is going to change the fate of the company as a large number of customers have already gravitated towards other retailers such as Target and Macy’s.”Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 19, 2013 02:37 PM
Hipsterrific U.S. beer brand Pabst Blue Ribbon and surfing powerhouse O’Neill could have had a legal battle, but the chill brands instead decided to pound it out and make some money together.
O’Neill turned out a new surf look recently that caused someone in the Pabst legal department to give them a call to note that O’Neill was getting a little too close for comfort to the logo for Pabst, which is owned by the enterprising bunch at Metropoulos & Co., the company that just linked up with Apollo Global Management to buy the rights to Twinkies for $410 million.
But instead of a brouhaha, the two companies decided (no doubt over a cold one) to chill out and partner on a co-branded line of clothing.Continue reading...
long arm of the law
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 19, 2013 12:29 PM
When New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg steps down from his current job on January 1 of next year, he might want to go find employment with a vice squad. Bloomberg was dealt a recent blow when his move to stop New Yorkers from purchasing oversized sodas was struck down by the court, but never one to give up, he's now got his eyes on controlling cigarette sales in the Big Apple.
The mayor on Monday introduced proposed legislation that would require New York cigarette sellers to hide cigarette packs from consumers so the brands aren’t given any free advertising and consumers don’t break down at the point of purchase and pick up a few smokes. The mandate is similar to one recently proposed in Singapore, to the dismay of Big Tobacco.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Brandchannel Staff on March 19, 2013 11:44 AM
After filing for bankruptcy protection in November and laying off its workers, Hostess has finally found buyers to pony up about $800 million for the majority of its baked goods brands.
According to Associated Press, a bankruptcy judge has approved the sale of Hostess Brands' iconic Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos to two investment firms, Apollo Global Management and Pabst owner Metropoulos & Co., for $410 million. The judge also approved the sale of Hostess-owned Wonder Bread, Nature's Pride, Butternut, Home Pride and Merita bread brands to Tastykakes owner Flowers Foods, for $360M.
Beefsteak, a Hostess-owned regional bread brand, also was approved for a $31.9 million sale to Mexico's Grupo Bimbo, which surfaced early in the Hostess bankruptcy auction as a potential buyer and acquired Sara Lee's North American bakery business in 2010.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 14, 2013 04:02 PM
Ambush marketing tends to pop-up in the most high-profile circumstances, and for Samsung, March 14 is D-day. While the mobile brand is busy heavily promoting its Galaxy S4 launch, it's obvious that competitors weren't going to sit on the sidelines and let Samsung have all the fun.
LG took a swipe at Samsung in New York City’s Times Square, unveiling a massive billboard that directly rips off the Galaxy S4 ad. Not only does LG use a key element of Samsung’s design, but its sign is larger than Samsung’s and hangs just above it, neatly overshadowing Samsung's biggest announcement of 2013.
The billboard’s text also mirrors Samsung’s—which is set to unveil the Galaxy S4 Thursday in New York—reading, "LG Optimus G is here 4 you now" in a reference to the S4—while just underneath, Samsung's sign reads, "Be ready 4 the next Galaxy." The obvious implication is that you need to wait for the next Galaxy while the LG Optimus G is ready for the consumer right now.Continue reading...