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

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 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 discusses the hiring of Ron Johnson and the negative aftermath of Johnson's strategy of a "curated collection of 100 brands" and change in pricing strategy from frequent sales to everyday low pricing.

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