The Sun Will Rise Again Over JCPenney as Retailer Reports Promising Numbers

Posted by Dale Buss on February 26, 2014 06:42 PM

Could it be that JCPenney finally has bottomed out after nearly a year of reversing course and going back to the future? The brand said it expects same-store sales to increase about 3 to 5 percent during the current quarter as it also today posted a narrower-than-expected loss for the fiscal fourth quarter.

Early readings on the recovering retailer's performance during the fourth quarter were colored with worry that CEO Myron Ullman wasn't reaping enough benefits, quickly enough, from his deconstruction of the radical changes that had been made to the traditional middle-market brand by predecessor Ron Johnson in 2012.

But today Ullman was able to say—with real numbers to back him up—that JCPenney might just have turned the corner. One number alone might have been enough to cheer investors and JCPenney employees alike: The chain actually reported a profit for the fourth quarter, of $35 million, after year-earlier losses of $552 million, and after experiencing two years in which CEOs were slashing jobs and expectations as the brand at times seemed to be in free fall.Continue reading...

big data

IBM Transforms Data into Consumer-Facing Tools for Retailers

Posted by Barry Silverstein on January 16, 2014 04:45 PM

One of the hot topics at the National Retail Federation's "BIG Show" this week was data security, made even more timely by the recent security breach disclosures by Target and Neiman Marcus. The trade show's other headliner also had to do with data, but how to spin it forward in a way that promotes innovation and the ultimate customer experience for retail brands. 

"A New Era of Value," the topic of IBM CEO Ginni Rometty's keynote speech, really revolved around Big Data, something Big Blue knows quite a bit about. Rometty shared some mind-boggling data of her own—80 percent of the world's data has been created in just the last two years. Of even more significance than the quantity is the fact that this information could be extraordinarily powerful in three ways:

  1. Descriptive analytics, offering a picture of a company's current status, such as product portfolios, market segments, or customers
  2. Predictive analytics, which model possible outcomes of initiatives and market trends
  3. Prescriptive analytics, sophisticated models that recommend next steps based on analyses across complex criteria and data.Continue reading...


JCPenney Backpedals Some More with Plan to Close Stores to Spur Growth

Posted by Dale Buss on January 16, 2014 01:47 PM

JCPenney looks like it'll have to take a few more steps back before it finally ever strides forward again. The brand said it will close 33 underperforming stores and lay off 2,000 employees as the troubled retailer continues a sweeping turnaround effort.

The company said the closings will save about $65 million a year beginning this year; the poorly performing outlets are expected to be closed by May. It'll take a total pre-tax hit of $43 million from the moves.

But the bigger problem is that the cutbacks may not be all that salutary. CEO Myron Ullman has been tackling all sorts of problems since taking over again from ousted CEO Ron Johnson last summer, basically undoing everything Johnson did—but he barely has gotten JCPenney's sales leakage and brand-equity erosion to level out, much less turn it around.Continue reading...


Macy's Tidies Up After Holidays, But No One's Sure What JCPenney is Up To

Posted by Dale Buss on January 9, 2014 01:47 PM

Some major retailers are still singing the holiday blues off of a somewhat-disappointing holiday shopping season. Macy's plans to lay off 2,500 workers and close a scattering of stores, while JCPenney has hinted to investors and other constituencies that it may not have bounced back during the season as much as had been hoped.

Macy's said its cutbacks are part of a new $100 million cost-shaving plan. But in the big picture, Macy's moves don't seem to reflect bleakness. They involve closing five stores but also opening five new stores, plus three Bloomingdale's stores. And Macy's said its net payrolls would stay about the same, at about 175,000 employees, because it will be hiring more people in areas such as online operations.

Also, Macy's moves come after a decent 3.6 percent jump in comp-store sales for the November-December holiday shopping season compared with a year earlier. Investors on Wednesday and Thursday bid up Macy's shares.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: T-Mobile, Samsung, Macy's and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 9, 2014 09:25 AM

In the News

T-Mobile caps turnaround with customer expansion as it covers termination fees for new users.

Samsung wants to be world's biggest appliance maker by 2015.

Macy's closing stores, cutting jobs to cut costs.

Barnes & Noble new chief must tackle Nook woes.

Chuck E. Cheese parent explores sale of chain.

Constellation Brands expects big things from new Corona Light on tap.

Darden focuses more on digital and less on TV.

Delta adds outlets, bigger overhead bins in 225 planes.

Denny's makes first move into Middle East.

Diageo and Sean Combs team up in tequila.

E*Trade system is zapped by power outage.Continue reading...


Sears Gets Battered and Bruised on Social Battlefield in Twitter War

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 6, 2014 05:35 PM

The internet and social media have broken down communication barriers between brands and consumers, critics and fans, opening a channel that's ripe for controversy. And so the recent Twitter spat between Sears and Belus Capital CEO Brian Sozzi and The Street columnist Rocco Pendola really is no surprise. 

Sozzi's ongoing retail case study of sorts has documented the good, the bad and the ugly in physical retail, from run-down, poorly executed Sears stores to redesigned, modern Macy's locations. In a series of posts on his Belus Capital website, Sozzi has posted damning, photographic evidence of some of the major deteriorations seen in struggling retailers like Sears and JCPenney, including outdated, unorganized displays to unkempt retail floors and fixtures. 

Colleague Rocco Pendola has been using Sozzi's photographic research to back up his thesis on the fall of physical retailers. And after relative silence from such retailers, Pendola's latest post, “Sears: A National Tragedy,” which featured Sozzi’s images “that show the unkempt conditions many of us associate with Sears and similar dying physical retailers,” may have just put Sears over the edge. 

But Sears wasn't the only one with something to say.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: General Mills, Walmart, BlackBerry and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 3, 2014 09:33 AM

In the News

General Mills removes GMOs from Original Cheerios.

Walmart recalls tainted donkey meat in China.

BlackBerry drops Alicia Keys as creative director.

5-Hour Energy charged to prove ad claims by Oregon AG.

American Airlines staff vote to keep new livery. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook takes pay cut for brand's performance.

AT&T goes after T-Mobile with up to $450 lure, and eyes mobile banking.

Ben & Jerry's appeals to Colorado potheads.

BMW builds bobsleds for US Olympic team.

Boeing faces key vote by machinists.

Burger King rebrands value menu.

Charlotte Hornets unveil new logo. 

Chrysler posts best annual sales in seven years as GMToyota US auto sales stall in December.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Snapchat, Fiat, Revlon and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 2, 2014 09:01 AM

In the News

Snapchat and Skype suffer major security breaches.

Fiat buys rest of Chrysler from UAW and won't do IPO.

Revlon pulls out of China.

Airbus Group rebrand takes off.

Apple denies claims it's cooperating with NSA.

Berkshire Hathaway fails to post customary growth.

Boeing creates tensions within union by important vote on Friday.

Cracker Barrel says it's not for sale.

FedEx faces legal assault over cigarettes sent to New Yorkers.

Ford adds solar cells to recharge electric concept car and retains title as top-selling US car brand.Continue reading...

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