In 2012, J. C. Penney’s CEO Ronald B. Johnson had the brilliant idea to improve the century-old family store by pandering to homosexuals — a move that, in a time of the decline of brick-and-mortar stores, isn’t smart on the grounds of simple market calculation because homosexuals make up only 2-3% of the U.S. population (see “Something is rotten at J C Penney”):
- In February 2012, J. C. Penney chose public lesbian Ellen DeGeneres to be the company’s spokesman.
- In May, the company featured a lesbian couple in its Mother’s Day promotion.
- In June, the company released a Father’s Day ad depicting two gay men and their children.
Johnson was said “to have a disdain for JC Penney’s traditional customer base.” While head of J. C. Penney, he continued to live in California and commuted to work in Plano, Texas by private jet several days a week. (Wikipedia)
Johnson’s gay-pandering alienated many Christians who, quietly and without fanfare, began boycotting the department store. (I have not stepped foot into a JC Penney since.)
The boycott in turn led to a precipitous drop in the company’s stock performance by as much as -51% from February 2012 till April 2013, when the company fired Johnson, after only 17 months on the job, and apologized to its customers for having made “changes” that they didn’t like.
JC Penney never recovered from the gay-pandering debacle, as seen in this Morning Star graph of the company’s stock performance since 2012 (dark blue line):
On February 24, 2017 in a press release, J.C. Penney Company, Inc. announced it will close two distribution facilities and 138 stores over the next few months, in “a plan to optimize its national retail operations as part of the Company’s successful return to profitability.”
Click here for a list of stores that are slated to close. Most affected stores will begin the liquidation process on April 17.
Rotten CEOs like Ronald Johnson, who no doubt left JC Penney with a “golden parachute,” never pay for their mistakes. Instead, it’s the low-level employees who pay for the CEOs’ mistakes by losing their already low-paying jobs.