YAKIMA — The buzz of the retail world came late yesterday when J.C. Penney announced it was firing CEO Ron Johnson.
The retailer then announced that Mike Ullman, a former CEO with the Plano, Texas, retailer, would be serving in the role on an interim basis.
J.C. Penney had a lot of hope for Johnson, who is best known for his success developing retail stores for Apple, when he took the CEO position in late 2011.
In his year in the post, he introduced several bold initiatives, including ending sales and coupons and a new store layout that organized trendy brands into various shops within the store.
The J.C. Penney store in Union Gap, which opened last fall in the newly developed Washington Plaza, offered the new concept, albeit in a smaller version.
But ultimately these moves did not help revive the tired department store brand. J.C. Penney’s had slumping sales, including the important holiday season, and its stock declined rapidly over the last year.
Now that the leadership transition is complete, everyone is putting in their two cents on what could happen with the retailer.
One analyst even suggested that perhaps it’s the end for the retailer. George Bradt of PrimeGenesis, which works with executives transitioning into new jobs, told USA Today that the best move for any J.C. Penney leader is to end the company and sell its assets.
Most observers are not making such a radical suggestion, but many agree that J.C. Penney will have an uphill battle.
In any case, it will be interesting to watch and see what those changes may mean for stores such as the one in Union Gap.
What do you think J.C. Penney needs? Share your thoughts in the comments.