Is JC Penney Doomed?

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Since the Switch:  jcp has lost $4.2 Billion in sales & stock is down 55%

Let’s say current trends in beer drinking continue for X amount of years, and consumption of the big, heritage American brews plummets even further.  Let’s also say, hypothetically, Miller sees the writing on the wall and decides to not go down without a major fight.  So they blow up their business.  Instead of gimmicky bottles and cans, they decide to undertake a huge makeover with the beer itself.

They hire a couple of master brewers who’ve already made their name in the micro or craft brewing industry.  They are then tasked with making a pale ale, a porter, an IPA, and a stout.  They might even have plans for seasonals down the line.  They tell the public this.  They thank their current customer base, and promise that these changes will improve their products. They invite those who have not tried them in years to give them another chance.  The beers are in fact hugely improved.  The costs are kept low.  They’re widely accessible and found all over the country.  And these newly hired directors have created a product that is less of an afterthought and more of something that deserves to be purposely sought out.

Their previous customer base leaves in droves.  Muttering: “The f*ck is this frilly sh*t?!” on the way out the door. Suddenly alienated by the declaration that what they were consuming before the switch apparently wasn’t “good” enough (even though they bought it), they stomp their feet and take their (dwindling) business elsewhere.

Meanwhile, there’s a slight uptick in new customers giving the reworked line of beers a try… but it’s scattered support. Most of these potential customers already have allegiances to other breweries.  Breweries that are smaller, with a larger variety and selection, and a feeling of exclusivity.  Sure this new version of Miller might make an incredible, basic Pale Ale at a crazy reasonable price… but c’mon man, have you not tried that Rye IPA that XYZ Micro Brewery just pushed out in limited release???

That’s all hypothetical.  This isn’t.  JC Penney’s numbers since their reboot are not good.  Sales were down near 30% in store compared to last year at the same time.  Online sales are down even more.  Their stock price lost almost 25% over this past week.

2013 has to be critical for the newly branded  jcp.

They gonna make it?

Stafford Ties“Waitaminute… this is not light American lager…”