“A Truly Depressing Visit to JCPenney”

Nobody was ever driven into bankruptcy by unreliable Wi-Fi, but that’s the Ron Johnson Era in a nutshell. Instead of building on what the people who like JCPenney liked about JCPenney, he undertook a series of essentially arbitrary changes that alienated some without drawing anyone new in.

I like JCPenney. It’s one of the only major department stores that sells good-looking and well-made clothes in sizes I can wear. But it was that way before Ron Johnson came in, and he hasn’t done anything to improve the one department I care about since he’s been there.

One of Johnson’s big changes, and the one he’s being raked over the coals for, is the “no discounting” policy that has removed coupons from the equation. As a long-time JCPenney customer, I counted on those coupons to take percentages off purchases I made. Now I just wait for clearance sales and seasonal markdowns instead. That translates into fewer trips to JCPenney that we used to do. The balance sheets speak for themselves: many other customers like me simply aren’t spending money at JCPenney like they were before, and new customers who like the other changes that Johnson has made aren’t replacing them fast enough.

I think Ron Johnson should just admit this isn’t working and move on to something better. Remember, he is heavily invested in seeing JCPenney succeed.