J.C. Penney Co. Inc. investors — already an ornery bunch — were uninspired by the return of Myron “Mike” Ullman 3rd as chief executive officer.
Shares of Penney’s fell 12.2 percent to $13.93 Tuesday, leaving the department store with a market capitalization of $3.06 billion. The stock price had already been cut in half during the 17-month tenure of former ceo Ron Johnson, which abruptly ended Monday.
Wall Street analysts said Ullman’s relationships with vendors and understanding of Penney’s from his nearly seven years at the helm, before Johnson succeeded him, would help him stabilize the business.
But there’s some serious work to be done and it remains to be seen how long Ullman, who has no employment contract, will stay around and how much of Johnson’s strategy he will retain if he does.
Citi analyst Deborah Weinswig said Ullman would work to bring back department store talent to the organization, stabilize sales as well as worker morale, invigorate the Internet business and look to conserve capital.
“The big question that remains is: How long will it take to fix the business and how much will it cost?” Weinswig said. “Any course-correcting strategy will likely be tackled in pieces and over a period of several quarters. We think pricing and promotions will be the first areas to be fixed, and we expect a return to a high-low promotional strategy and stepped up advertising.”
Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Trussell said Ullman would “look to quickly assess what is salvageable over the next six [to] 12 months and make a recommendation to the board on the next ceo or for an alternative strategic option — via real estate or outright sale.”
Trussell said concerns over the company’s access to cash, or liquidity, would now take center stage given its recent losses and expenditures to remodel stores.
Kimberly Greenberger, a Morgan Stanley analyst, also said investors would probably continue to worry over the state of Penney’s balance sheet, but that Ullman’s return was a positive step.
Even so, Greenberger said the chain faces steep challenges.
“[Penney’s] struggles to drive sales with a concentration of private label brands with little to no meaning in today’s market,” she said. “We are convinced [Penney’s] needs a compelling way forward — but what that is remains to be seen. Johnson’s path of aspiring to a new shopper did not work, but [Penney’s] struggled to stabilize sales before Johnson’s arrival.”
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)