Berkeley Haas Case Series

Case Information

J. C. Penney: Activist Investors and the Rise and Fall of Ron Johnson
Robinson, David
Publication date: 6/30/2014, pages 1-14

The case study is set in 2012 and 2013. J.C. Penney is a venerable American institution, one of the last surviving department store chains. But it has suffered from "profitless prosperity"--good "top line" (revenue) but great difficulty in bringing much to the "bottom line" (net income). Additionally, competition from specialty retailers has led Penney’s to abandon certain lines of business (such as automotive repair) and face intense competition in other categories (wear-to-work clothing and household goods). The case study discusses the hiring of Ron Johnson from Apple in 2011 and the aftermath of Johnson's new strategy of a "curated collection of 100 brands" and change in pricing strategy from frequent sales to everyday low pricing. The case study also shows the aftermath of Johnson's strategy which was not positive.

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