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JCPenney is now without a CEO or a CFO…

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Why JCPenney is in serious trouble

JCPenney’s CEO left in May. Now its second in command is out too.

Penney said Thursday that Jeffrey Davis, the company’s chief financial officer, was resigning 14 months after taking the job. Jerry Murray, a top executive, will take over as the interim finance chief.

Davis’ departure marked another sign of trouble at JCPenney (JCP). The company’s stock has slipped 45% this year, driven down by Marvin Ellison’s exit to take the top job at Lowe’s. Penney has not replaced Ellison yet.

On Friday, shares fell 9% to around $1.60, a record low.

“They’re in a leaky boat that eventually will sink,” Mark Cohen, the director of retail studies at the Columbia Business School, told CNNMoney last month. “The prognosis for the future is not happiness.”

Penney is more than $4 billion in debt. The company has posted a profit in only two quarters over the past four years. In its most recent quarter, Penney lost $101 million and was forced to discount to clear a glut of clothing piling up in inventory.

Penney lacks a clear vision to bring back shoppers, analysts say. Although it closed 141 stores last year and is closing eight more this year, it still has more than 860 left.

Penney had switched its focus from older shoppers to younger, trendier ones. Now it is moving back toward middle-aged women, with brands like Liz Claiborne. Earlier this month, Penney introduced Artesia, a new women’s chic brand for less than $30.

Months before he left, Davis said Penney’s core customers were women over 45. The company will give an update on its efforts to win those shoppers in early November when it reports quarterly earnings.

CNNMoney (New York) First published September 28, 2018: 10:50 AM ET



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