J.C. Penney’s new CEO Ron Johnson, a former Apple executive, told analysts Monday that the department store chain is rethinking everything from pricing to products. The message comes as the retailer struggles to turn around after reporting a quarterly loss.
Johnson’s comments offer valuable insights into the next chapter for Penney’s. The Plano, Texas, company has tried to grow by adding popular brands like European clothing line MNG by Mango and Sephora cosmetics.
The company reported a third-quarter net loss because of costs related to restructuring, its management transition and a voluntary retirement program. The company also gave a fourth-quarter outlook that was below Wall Street forecasts.
Johnson was with Apple for 11 years before taking the CEO helm from Myron Ullman III. Penney on Monday announced that it has hired two of Johnson’s former Apple colleagues — Daniel Walker, as Penney’s chief talent officer, and Michael Kramer, as chief operating officer. That follows Penney’s move last month to hire Target’s top marketing executive Michael Francis as president.
Penney’s revenue at stores opened at least a year fell 1.6 percent during the third quarter. That compares with increases of 4 percent at Macy’s and 2.1 percent at Kohl’s for the same period.
Penney said Monday it lost $143 million, or 67 cents per share, for the three months ended Oct. 29. That compares with net income of $44 million, or 19 cents per share, in the year-ago period. The latest results include costs of $179 million, or 51 cents per share, for a voluntary early retirement program and $27 million, or 10 cents per share, related to management changes.
Revenue slipped almost 5 percent to $3.98 billion from $4.19 billion largely reflecting the discontinuation of its catalog and catalog outlet business.