Ron Johnson Out as J.C. Penney CEO, Focus Now on the Dirt Under Stores

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J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) has apparently just tossed Ron Johnson out as the CEO. CNBC reported a source saying that Johnson is out as CEO. This retailer was a turnaround that just could not be turned for Mr. Johnson, and his retail magic at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) proved to be timing more than it did his own magic.

We would note that a formal press release has not been issued (see update right below). Until that comes out, we have to treat this as hearsay. The short interest is huge here in this stock and that may be driving the shares higher as well. There were some 61 million shares short as of the mid-March report.

NEWS UPDATE: A Press release was issued at 5:17 confirming that Johnson is out. Oddly enough, the former fired CEO Mike Ullman is the one taking back over and he will have a board seat as well.

The implication here that we would take is that the latest round of results which we have not yet seen were obviously not showing improvement. Our question is whether or not there is anything left of J.C. Penney for a new CEO to step in and fix the company from an operations basis. Now it may have to just boil down to how much all of that real estate is really going to be worth.

Shares were up 2.7% at $15.87 on this Monday, but the stock is up 8% at $17.18 in the after-hours trading session. We would expect that the stock will rip around on the news rather than move in any straight line.

J.C. Penney remains a turnaround that just seems as though it cannot be turned around.