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JCP—Another Turnaround Story, A Game Changer or Much Ado About Nothing?
23 Jan 2012 EST - CNBC.com
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Since Ron Johnson joined JCPenney, the stock has received a free pass.

JCP shares are actually up 11 percent despite continuing disappointments. But after all, if anyone can revive a tired retailer, the man who created the Apple retail experience should be the one.

But make no mistake, Ron Johnson and the dream team he has assembled have their work cut out for them.

While the likes of Macy’s are gaining share and consistently beating expectations, JCP November comps were down 2 percent.

JCP did not compete in the midnight Turkey Day opening game, which was an error in strategy.

December comps were not any more encouraging and the company slashed EPS estimates for the fourth-quarter by close to 40 percent versus expectations.

As we approach the much anticipated two-day JCP analyst meeting, which starts Wednesday morning, there is no limit to the speculation surrounding what Johnson will tell us. Will he roll out glass stores? Will Genius bars appear?

In other words, what is the magic bullet?

While many investors’ minds are working overtime on this subject, realistic expectations include a few basics. First, JCP must somehow inspire the younger consumer to come into the store.

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