JC Penney at Piper Jaffray Conference

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Why the new CEO is there

“I grow up very modestly. So I have a keen understanding of the customer segment. We are mid-tier department stores serving, moderate household incomes and having grown up in a very modest household with quite a number of siblings, my mother spend a lot of time trying to find ways to make intimate as she would call.

So the customer segmentation resonates very well with me. There was a J. C. Penney’s in my nearest town from my home and small town in Western Tennessee’s. So I’ve always been acquainted with the company and the culture means something to me.

I think secondly you always look for upside opportunity. And for me I couldn’t find a greater upside opportunity for my advantage point. And then a company were the financial downturn had been specifically driven by poor strategic decisions. I’m not a disruptive competitor, not a change in the economic landscape, but strategic decisions that simply did not work.

So my advantage point and my thought was very simple, you have an iconic 113-year old company with a strong dominant brand that still exists. You have a wonderful portfolio of private branded product, which for any brick-and-mortar retailer competing against pure dotcom companies of private branded portfolio is significantly important, but also there was upside opportunity to correct the problems of the past and implement some strategic initiatives that will help the company transform itself to the future and I felt like it was an opportunity to good to pass all.’

We have the same number of active customers today as we did in ’11

“we had 87 million active customers in 2011. We have 87 million active customers today. The reason the volume is not the same as frankly the businesses that were impaired have not yet been fully restored”

Second mover has its advantages too

“We are behind in our omnichannel strategy, but we don’t look at that as a disadvantage because I think the second-mover advantage is so powerfully strong. Having worked for Home Depot where we literally started from scratch in developing an omnichannel and I’d argue now that Home Depot has one of the best omnichannel experiences of any brick-and-mortar retailer.

I learned a lot of lessons on the things that worked and did not work in a retail environment. All of those things are not transferable to J.C. Penney because we have different types of retails, but retail it’s fundamentally retail. And so finding a seamless connection between dotcom to store, mobile and desktop is critically important ‘

Private brands are a big asset

“J.C. Penney is very fortunate that our private brands in most cases from our customer are viewed at the equal status and some kind of superior status on national brands. And the good news is we have great national brands, it’s not a key national brand that customers really desire that we don’t have the ability to sell in our stores.”

Mike and his team saved the company

“I think it goes about saying that Mike and many of the executives will never receive the credit they deserve for the work that they put in place in the last two years. To say that he was handed a very difficult situation would be and understatement. And I don’t think there are too many executive leaders that could have stepped into that situation at the time he did to literally save the company.”

Have to get better at targeting e-marketing campaigns

“I receive a lot of email marketing I delete most of it. Because it is not targeted to me is just a blast. What effective companies and there are companies out that are really good at this. Can take your buying patterns and they can get into a predictive modeling. If you bought these things in the past you will also like these things and make it really truly intimate and one-to-one. And that’s something that we have to get better at and we are very conscious sort of fact we have to get better at it. “