ACKMAN ON PENNEY’S: In an interview Tuesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” William Ackman, founder and chief executive officer of Pershing Square Capital Management, said J.C. Penney Co. Inc.’s same-store sales, down 18.9 percent in the first quarter, have likely “hit bottom” and that the company should “start to see real progress early next year.”

He emphasized that the company had to change the image of its brand and the experience in the store before it can attract the best vendors, but it couldn’t do that due to what was an extremely promotional environment at the retailer. Ackman called the change a “difficult transition,” adding that consumers will start to see change in August when new product ordered under ceo Ron Johnson’s management team start to hit the sales floors. In addition, the company in August will reveal the new in-store shop brands, as well as new technology impacting the customer experience.

This story first appeared in the May 30, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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Ackman said he has a “lot of patience” in terms of waiting for the strategy to gel, emphasizing that “it takes time to educate the customer. Time is your friend because eventually, people will get it.”

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