JC Penney 'Valentine's Day Massacre' coming?

Insiders are reportedly worried about rumors that the retailer's CEO will lay off hundreds at the corporate offices this month.

By Kim Peterson Feb 6, 2013 3:38PM
Customer Service counter at the J.C. Penney store in Westminster, Colorado on February 20, 2009 ( RICK WILKING/Newscom/RTR)J.C. Penney (JCP) insiders are worried about upcoming layoffs this month, calling it a "Valentine's Day Massacre," The New York Post reports.

There are rumors that CEO Ron Johnson may lay off at least 10% of the 3,000 employees working at the company's headquarters in Plano, Texas.

Johnson may have been itching to do this for a while but may have wanted to wait until the company's new fiscal year began, the Post reports. That's because laying people off costs money -- in severance pay, for example -- and Johnson didn't want to load up the previous fiscal year with even more expenses.

Sources tell the newspaper the company is running low on cash. And its third-quarter earnings report confirms it, showing that at the end of October J.C. Penney had $525 million in cash -- down from $1.1 billion a year earlier.

Johnson was asked about the rumors Wednesday on CNBC and didn't give a definitive answer. Here's what he said, according to The Dallas Morning News:
"No, no. There are a lot of rumors. We have a rumor a day, it seems like. Today it's about layoffs at our headquarters. I would never talk about that, but you've got to separate the facts from the rumors. Ultimately, we need to have the right cost structure for the business and we have to grow. And we're going to be sure we do those two things."
Johnson has been busy bringing in outside brands to stores, including Martha Stewart and Joe Fresh. Something has to give when you're making that kind of pricey investment, and the Post reports that the ax will likely fall on the designers and other employees who develop Penney's private-label brands.

Already, the Post reports, private brands like St. John's Bay and Arizona are starting to disappear from stores.

More on moneyNOW

Tags: Retail
Feb 7, 2013 3:04AM
  Poor choice of the word,  "Massacre!"  to start a story about job layoffs.
Feb 7, 2013 2:55AM

I spent 30+ years in the apparel business and most manufacturers I represented(all were( NYC based) wanted no part of  Penneys. As my business grew with their  competition it did not take long before JCP begin to sniff around. I was already aquatinted with some of their newer buyers.  And as my JCPcontacts begin to expand the one thing that I had never experienced jumped up an bit me on the nose. 

 Of all the major department stores I dealt with none had ever ask me for kick backs.

So, here came a new experience and I was not ready for that. And the buyers who for what ever

their reason would give my samples to the Local Dallas manufacturers and they would make

an inferior product. Of Course the buyers figured out I was major league pissed.

 And the saddest part was that the buyers were buying inferior products and getting money under the table.

Feb 7, 2013 2:28AM

If ANY of the Board Members read this they should see that more than half of all comments blame the CEO for the downward spiral of JCP. These are YOUR shoppers talking here!

DO yourself a favor and LISTEN.

No one shops JCP for pricey designer duds. They go directly to the source. This CEO Joohnson has completely wrecked the JCP branding. The stores look like warehouses, very cold and where are the sales?

No American shopper wants to even "think" they are paying full price for anything.

That discarded coupon program was the JCP "stand apart" draw that brought tons of shoppers into the stores...not anymore!

No wonder the stock is running in the red... the shoppers have sent their message" Bring back the old JCP programs, incentives, coupons and sales.

Then and ONLY then will JCP be able to recover from the damage that Mr. Johnson and his so called "plan" has caused.

To do nothing but more of this disastrous decision making will cost JCP it's life.

At this rate after these 3-4 years...who will care?

Most people will just talk about JCP as a fading memory......

Feb 7, 2013 1:44AM
I have to agree with everyone here. I loved JCP and shopped there for years. I am a tall guy and have always relied on JCP as my go to store for the tall sizes I needed. It would be great to see them come back to full circle that we all knew. But the clown who is running the circus has got to go for that to happen.
Feb 7, 2013 1:26AM
Trust me, Johnson will be gone within 12 to 15 months.
Feb 7, 2013 1:10AM
What a bunch of crab!  This was likely to happen for forcing bad labor working conditions on there workers and Supplying cheap rated distribution from The American Samoa fabrics where they hired woman to work under unfair labor pay.  I mean arewe sick yet for all this crab!   For every 200 employees who will be fired guess what JC Penney does not give a dime!   I rather boycott the store and wait for someone with great ideas and compassion for American Woman rights to open a better department store and set educated decisions and great leadership skills then all this BS that we are all aware about.
Feb 7, 2013 1:04AM
Is there a financial reason to want this store to go belly up? Such poor choices, It is painful to see an establised store with a good name and faithful following purposefully make such sweeping dhanges to devalue this chain. It appears that the people that are at the helm are either snowed or simply do not care. This to me is the last chance to admit that dumb choices were made and quickly restore the old store or there's no turning back. Keep going like they are, stock will continue to decline, people will lose jobs and the store closing sale will follow.  
Feb 7, 2013 1:00AM
When is JCP's Board going to get rid of this idiot Johnson.  How can a competent Board sit and watch their company go down the drain and do nothing?  I shopped at JCP for decades....no more.  No decent clothes any  more....just junk.  What a shame to see a great company go under.  But the Board wants to support the CEO, and not the customers.
Feb 7, 2013 12:53AM
They should never have hired Ellen Degenerate as their spokesman.  They drove away the families.
Feb 7, 2013 12:44AM
I really don't know what happened to this company.  JCP went through a huge revitalization in the 1980s and their new stores were just beautiful (after that drab brown 1960s stodginess), the prices were right, the merchandise was not cheesy looking; it just looked glamorous and appealing.  Maybe I'm just too old to know what looks good on people anymore.  I certainly find little to purchase there these days.  I'm not mad at Ellen---she couldn't save them.  I think maybe Ron Johnson should fall on his own spear before he blames everyone else for the woes of this company. 
Feb 7, 2013 12:43AM
Why not fire Ron Johnson. He's the one who created this travesty.
Feb 7, 2013 12:42AM
yep but dont forget  who speaks for them good old ellen degenerate surely that makes ytou wanna come back
Feb 7, 2013 12:41AM

WAke up customers JC Penney is already wel and dry!  Last week my friend and I went to shop there and we found a mess in the isles, the ticket prices don't make sense at all!  We also try to get someone to check us out and the girl din't even speak fluently correctly when we wanted to pay out with cash, she was like there pointing!    So JC on the go for harrassing all there employees and for being the most horrible place in customrer service!  Did any of you hear the story of some lady who was hard of hearing and they never gave her an opportunity for training.   This ****s have to go! 

Feb 7, 2013 12:33AM
Lay off employees??  There are only about 3 in each store.  How many more can they get rid of and still run a business? 
Feb 7, 2013 12:28AM
Get rid of Ellen D the **** bitch! Flaunting her majesty's gayness has been the downfall of Penny's. I will never shop there again!
Feb 7, 2013 12:24AM

JCP was always a company dedicated to family values with a client base that reflected.  They decided to alienate this entire client base with openly promoting homosexual lifestyles, including adds on mothers day featuring a lesbian couple with their little girl and on father's day 2 homosexual men with thier little boy.


Now putting that aside...they have also adopted a policy what allows a biological man to, if he wears female clothing to enter wemon's dressing rooms and the wemon's restroom.  There is no way I would let my wife or children shop there for fear that they will be object of some pervets jollys with the blessing of the store.  My family has been a customer of JCP for 4 generations but will no longer even enter the store.


This is not about hating on homosexuals but it is about protecting my family from perverts.

Feb 7, 2013 12:22AM
He's the reason they're cash strapped. He's an idiot.Everything JC Penney has been to millions of people for so many years,,he has destroyed.I worked there twice and bought everything from them,,,now I buy nothing....everything I liked they have stopped selling,,,,all of these people will lose their jobs because he's an idiot,,,,,the best thing the company could do is lay HIM off....The sooner the better....wake up JC Penney board.....James Cash would turn over in his grave if he saw what this clown is doing to his company       Walmart now has better quality than Penneys,,,,never thought I'd see that.
Feb 7, 2013 12:08AM
CEO Johnon is what needs to disappear from the stores. Not the hard working employees.
Start the layoffs with Johnson, he has ruined Penny's and he has no clue how to run it.

Feb 6, 2013 11:59PM
When I was a young boy, my mother would buy all my clothes at JCP. I remember wearing those HUSKY size jeans. I was proud of them. As a middle aged man I like the ST. JOHNS BAY in the big and tall section. My closet is full of them. Good quality and great price. If they take them away, I will have zero reason to shop at JCP. Get it together quickly JCP, or RIP! Im sure SEARS and KMART will disappear soon also.
Feb 6, 2013 11:34PM
I don't know what this CEO is thinking but JCP has turned into a store that I don't even like going into anymore.  Last year I was only there once. Now they're getting rid of St. John's Bay.  Why can't they get rid of this loser who has dragged the company down?  Thousands are going to lose their jobs because of this incompetent moron!  It'll be interesting to see who goes under first - JCP or Sears.  My money is that JCP will be history by this time next year.
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