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Yesterday, as JC Penney announced that it suffered Q4 losses that were more than 10 times worse than expected and more than six times worse than the Q4 losses a year earlier, the company's CEO, Ron Johnson, conceded that he made "big mistakes" in his efforts to turn around the retailer.

The New York Times story says that "in his quest to 'be the favorite store for everyone,' Mr. Johnson said the retailer had gotten some areas wrong, including marketing and an assessment that customers wanted simple pricing without constant sales."

The story goes on:

“'I had a personal conviction to deliver everyday value beginning with truth on the price tag,' Mr. Johnson said. 'We worked really hard and tried many things to make the customer understand that she could shop anytime on her terms. But we learned she prefers a sale, at times she loves a coupon, and always, she needs a reference price,' he said, referring to items like 'compare to' prices on price tags.

"He said the company would be running sales 'each and every week' going forward, along with offering coupons.

"He also said that the company’s marketing last year 'failed to communicate our unique value proposition,' but that new ads, which started last week and focus on price comparisons, led to an immediate jump in traffic and sales.

“"We are highly confident that as we return to some level of promotion, we’ll get the customer back in the store,' Mr. Johnson said."

That will take some work. As the Times notes, "In the year since the chief, Ron Johnson, introduced his ambitious new strategy, the company has lost $4.28 billion in sales and its stock is down about 55 percent."
KC's View:
If JCP is going back to the old way of promoting, with sales and coupons, why do they need Ron Johnson?