JC Penney is one of the iconic retail brands in the United States and a place where most of us have shopped. The trouble facing retail giants has visited Penney’s and the past few years have not been kind to the giant with declining sales and store closures being frequent news.
The ship was righted somewhat by former CEO Marvin Ellison who has since moved on to Lowe’s and some triage has been practiced, helping stem the red ink. But recently announced quarterly results have spurred analysts to downgrade the chain’s credit rating and the remainder of 2018 seems to be shaping up as challenging, to put it kindly. The situation is not as grave as what faces Sears and some positives are in place, but the downgraded credit rating will make it far more expensive for the next CEO to borrow the capital needed to chart a new direction.
This news continues what has been a trend of tough headwinds for some retailers while similar department stores like Macy’s, Kohl’s and Neiman Marcus have enjoyed better, if not spectacular results.
All of this makes us wonder how the financial situations of the broad spectrum of large retailers will affect the upcoming holiday season and how their profit and inventory challenges will affect the strategies of pure play eCommerce sellers. It is entirely possible that we will see aggressive pricing from JC Penney both in store and online as they look to move excess inventory in the 4th qtr. Will that be a winning strategy or just further triage? How will smaller companies compete, that is question we will be studying.
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