Monday, January 7, 2019

JCPenney stock falls below $1, prompting the question, 'is JCPenney the next Sears?'

While I've been busy covering the Sears Holdings bankruptcy, another department store chain has been having its own difficulties during the Retail Apocalypse, JCPenney, which I promised to write about in July 2018 and only now am getting around to.  CNN reported late last month that its stock fell below $1.00, always a bad sign.  That news prompted Eric of Retail Archeology to ask Is JCPenney The Next Sears?

A lot of bad news has come out recently about JCPenney. Let's talk about it while check out one of [their] stores during a time when it should be very busy.
Eric isn't the only one to make that comparison.  Forbes did as well, declaring 2019 Will Be The Year JCPenney Flips -- One Way Or Another.
It’s JCPenney’s turn in 2019.

If 2018 was the year Sears finally succumbed to the inevitable, and the year before marked the beginning of the end for Toys "R" Us, then this new year will be all about JCPenney.

Not that the retailer is going out of business, though that could be its ultimate fate. More likely, whatever happens to the beleaguered company over these next 12 months there will still be a JCPenney in the marketplace.

But 2019 will clearly be the year when the attention of creditors, financial institutions and, perhaps most importantly, the company’s vendors will be most focused on what the retailer does to survive. And JCPenney will need to address all of their concerns—one way or another.
This crisis has been a long time coming.  Eric uploaded an earlier video on JCPenney during April 2017.  In it, he wondered how long the chain would last, giving it the title JCPenney 1902 - ????

This episode features video tours of 2 JCPenney locations in the Phoenix, AZ area. JCPenney has begun to face financial difficulties and recently announced they would soon begin closing some stores.
As Eric pointed out in the later video, things have gotten worse since.

While the likely deaths of Sears and KMart have been attracting most of the attention during the Retail Apocalypse, the latest developments in which I plan on writing about tomorrow, the travails of JCPenney are coming to a head.  The conclusion of the Forbes article makes that very point.
Something is going to happen with JCPenney this year—something big. The retailer cannot keep going on as it has, its window is rapidly closing in the best traditions of that cliché.

With a market cap of barely $340 million, there isn’t too much breathing space left as the company has lost nearly 90% of its value. And it continues to dance dangerously around a threshold that was once inconceivable: JCPenney as a penny stock.
Looks like I've found the next big Retail Apocalypse story to follow.  Stay tuned.

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