The following is an excerpt from Nathaniel Meyersohn | August 29, 2018 | CNN.com |
Leaderless, $4 billion in debt and with a stock price below $2, the besieged retailer faces an uncertain fate after posting its latest round of dismal earnings.
"They're in a leaky boat that eventually will sink," said Mark Cohen, the director of retail studies at the Columbia Business School and a former CEO of Sears Canada and other department stores. "The prognosis for the future is not happiness."
Penney finds itself weighed down by years of errors, failed CEOs and muddled attempts to establish a clear identity with shoppers.
JCPenney (JCP) has posted a profit in only two quarters over the past four years. In its most recent quarter, Penney lost $101 million and was forced to offer steep discounts to clear a glut of clothing piling up in inventory.
Penney closed 141 stores last year is closing eight more this year. It has more than 860 left, but hundreds are in troubled malls, with leases that prevent Penney from escaping.
The company's downfall does not fit cleanly into the death-by-Amazon story of many retailers in recent years. Instead, Penney's wounds are largely self-inflicted.
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