J.C. Penney shares hit a 31-year low

You have to go all the way back to 1982 to find the last time investors were this discouraged.

By Benzinga Sep 30, 2013 2:16PM
Shoppers at a J.C. Penney store in New York, NY on October 23, 2009 (© Mark Lennihan/AP)By Jake L'Ecuyer

J.C. Penney (JCP) has certainly seen better days, but just how bad has the stock become?

Would you believe shares have reached a 31-year low?

The stock hit a low of $8.59 Monday, though it had recovered to about $8.88 at midday. To find a price below that low, you'd have to go all the way back to April 1982, when the stock dropped to $8.50 per share.

J.C. Penney approached this territory in December 2000, but stopped at $8.62. For those who haven't watched the retailer stumble over the years, it's almost shocking that shares were as high as $84 back in February 2007.

Penney has had quite a rough run since activist investor Bill Ackman pushed the company to hire visionary former Apple (AAPL) executive Ron Johnson. When Johnson's policies didn't succeed in turning around the company, he was fired and replaced with former CEO Mike Ullman -- a move that came as a relief to some, but was seen as backpedaling by others.

Setback after setback forced the company to raise a $2.25 billion round of debt through Goldman Sachs (GS) earlier this year, and soon after Ackman sold the stock for a loss at around $13 per share.

Early last week, traders speculated the company would raise debt once again, perhaps using its large real estate portfolio as leverage. Shocking the Street, the company dumped a massive 82 million-share offering on the market, comprising nearly 40% of its float at the time.

On Sept. 24, Dow Jones reported that J.C. Penney planned to hire 35,000 holiday workers, giving some traders hope that the company may be anticipating a strong fourth quarter. Despite the hopeful news, shares are down almost 55% this year, and almost 75% over the last five years.

More from Benzinga
Sep 30, 2013 2:59PM
Damn shame what has happened.  Bought a lot of household goods etc there but no clothes, other than blue jeans and some casual stuff,  since they really didn't carry anything of upper quality in clothing.   Over the past few years when I went to the stores in Lewisville or Dallas, it looked like a UN convention between the mexicans and indians/pakistanies.  The clothing I looked at was more geared toward teenagers and I guess something a third world foreigner would find interesting.  The American Eagle brand was no longer to be found.  Bottom line is they have lost their main stream customers due to their buying habits and are now left with their minority base who apparently isn't spending the money.  They made a huge mistake and doubful they will ever recover.  They chose their audience and as expected they are left holding the empty shopping bag.
Sep 30, 2013 2:52PM
yes and the ceo is laughing all the way to the bank
Sep 30, 2013 3:12PM
The way things are, the whole dow average should be at a 31 year low. And it would be if not for massive government stock propping. A highly valued stock market should follow a robust economy and a prosperous population and not the other way around.
Sep 30, 2013 3:57PM

They need to get Mr. and Mrs. Middle America in those stores to tell them what to do. I agree - all their sales help were Somalis that take prayer breaks every hour, or someone you can't understand. The foreigners are the smart ones - shop at the dollar stores and hoard their money.

All the clothes are geared for 12 year old stick figures who don't/won't shop JCP ever. Obviously they need someone that understands Joe the Plumber tastes. Not these idiots in Charge. I have stock left to me by my Mother that worked there for years. Older worker that took care of her customers. Called them when something came in they wanted. Nope, no more at JCP - same as Sears for service and geared toward middle schoolers.   Wake up JCP - your target customer should be middle class, middle age - they have the money. Dah.........

Sep 30, 2013 3:20PM
I went to JCP a couple of weeks ago and, omg, the clothes for the full size woman looked so frumpy and dumpy. So I took my big butt down to Dressbarn and their clothes for the voluptuous woman were so cute, up to date and stylish. Shopped til I dropped at Dressbarn.  Next step...I guess I should go on a diet.  But in the mean time I can look good.
Sep 30, 2013 4:39PM

Three things hurt Penny's in the rural area where I live. The first thing was when so many people were fired and  replaced by younger employees. These people had worked for Penny's  for twenty to thirty years. This infuriated those older employees' neighbors, relatives, and the churches where they attended. Then Penny's went all out for the support of gays. This hurt them in the rural areas also. Finally Penny's started dropping some of their main good quality merchandise and then their boat started to sink.  

Sep 30, 2013 4:57PM
I havent been there for 2 years now. I used to be able to go in there and get my husband a suit, 2 shirts, 2 pair of jeans and a tie in 15 minutes. All of that good stuff is gone. 68 year old men don't wear the stuff they carry now. Apparently the 20 and 30 somethings don't either. I's just done with JC until the put it back where it was. Most of it can be bought at Kohls now. JC did Kohls a great big favor at the best possible time.
Sep 30, 2013 2:39PM
Oh no. Investors discouraged? Gee and I thought sure we were saved, what with all the Fed toilet paper Benny Bucks money printing and everything. Dang thought sure we were saved. Now you tell me investors are discouraged with JCP? I'll have to look in my 'portfolio' and 'leverage' this.
Sep 30, 2013 5:28PM
After all they did for the LGBT community and now they won't bail them out.
Sep 30, 2013 4:02PM
Here, I have the fork. Is it time?
Sep 30, 2013 5:17PM
Businesses come and go... it's part of the economic engine and it's a good thing. Lost jobs become new jobs for competitors that do things in a manner that meet new demands. Resources get re-allocated and the economy finds new efficiency mechanisms. Then someone else gets a turn. The last thing in the world the economy needs is the government stepping in bailing out businesses with outdated and inefficient models all for the sake of saving jobs... it holds back innovation.
Sep 30, 2013 4:34PM
Prices at JCPenney have skyrocket with this new CEO.  I was going to buy my husband some undershirts at Penneys, until I looked at the price.  4 'v' neck undershirts by Hanes  $40 bucks...what? $40 bucks for undershirts, no thanks, I'll go to wal mart and purchase for probably half of that.
Sep 30, 2013 5:13PM
Sep 30, 2013 3:36PM
They need some more , Two Dads" commercials.
Sep 30, 2013 5:29PM



I quit shopping at J.C. Penny when I went into a

Dillard's Store and compared the difference in quality .



Sep 30, 2013 11:51PM

Franklymydear, We don't give a damn....You could try "Omar The Tentmaker."

One size fits all Fattys...

Sep 30, 2013 9:11PM
 How can we live with less overseas crap and abused broke retail workers?
Sep 30, 2013 6:41PM

JC Penney - the official clothier of Obamaville.

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