JCPenney 2013: Year Two for the Turnaround

By Joe Skorupa — January 07, 2013

Now with a full year under his belt, JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson heads into 2013 with a well defined turnaround plan in place. But will it work? Financial analysts are increasingly skeptical.

A report in Forbes takes a harsh tone in assessing JCPenney's performance in in 2012 and its outlook for 2013. The report notes "the stock was up last month (December 2012) and its website was reportedly a favorite visit during the holidays, but there's every reason to expect it will report dismal fouth quarter results."

The Forbes report also notes that "any brand that gets compared to Apple is probably doomed, or at least woefully misunderstood."

A recent report in the Wall Street Cheat Sheet bases its stock recommendation on hard numbers and the picture it paints of JCPenney's performance in 2012 is unflattering. It notes that "CEO Ron Johnson is not a popular fellow at the moment. His fair pricing approach isn't working out, and it likely won't work out in the end, but we have to admit that it's possible  that he will end up proving everyone wrong."

A harsh tone is also taken in a story in Business Insider which notes that "Ron Johnson was, and continues to be the absolute wrong man with the wrong strategy for the job."

However, the Motley Fool has a less harsh view of JCPenney and Ron Johnson. In a recent report it asks: "Should we blame Johnson and demand that he resign for what he is trying to do?" The author argues for patience and assesses Johnson this way: "Some think he is crazy but I think he should be given a chance...If Johnson is right about how to deal with its customers and the perceptions of sales promotions, then investors may eventually be rewarded." 

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