J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) dove close to another 52-week low as any confidence that the market had in CEO Ron Johnson is now gone if it ever returned after the company lost 20% of its revenue in the last quarter of 2012.
Now there are even discussions the company may go into a strategic bankruptcy as a way to right size itself as economists like to say. This would mean almost certainly the shuttering of several hundred stores and layoffs of several thousand people. In the meantime it appears that Johnson will keep his job least as long as the larger shareholders in the company continue to support him or alternatively decided it is a poor idea try to find a replacement while the company is in such dire straits
The board already knows whether J.C. Penney’s first quarter has done better than it did late last year. Virtually all the sales figures from the stores are in as regional managers certainly provided whatever they may to allow for accurate sales information for the final weeks of March. In other words, the board knows whether Ron Johnson will have to face another Wall St. bloodbath as the company attempts to explain why it is not been able to reverse sharp drop in sales.
Only yesterday The New York Post reported that Johnson had changed his merchandising plans yet again and raised prices on most products. Should this be the case there is a clear indication that passing on price increases to the limited number of customers J.C. Penney has is the only way to dig out of the revenue nosedive. It will be interesting to see whether Penney makes the decision that it should alert investors to another disaster or face the consequences of having said nothing, allowing shareholders to hold the stock until the official earnings release date.
Class-action lawyers take note.