The big reason JC Penny has been rallying of late is their new CEO Ron Johnson, who of course created the Apple stores along with Steve Jobs, but there’s another reason why JC Penny might continue to rally: they’ve just hired Ellen Degeneres as a partner and will feature her in a few ads. This goes with our spokesperson theme, where Shatner left Priceline, Damon joined TD Ameritrade and the Etrade baby seems to appear everywhere.
Ellen said one of her first jobs was working at a JC Penny store in Louisiana. Today though, signing up Ellen is like having Oprah as a spokesperson for your company. Ellen has an army of people who watch and follow her and those at this particular show got a $250 JC Penny gift card.
The stock seems to love all the news, squeezing out the shorts, as it is up nearly 20%. Here’s more on how Ron Johnson plans to transform JC Penny from the WSJ:
Now three months into his job, the new chief executive is hoping to turn things around with a far-reaching but risky overhaul of the department store format in an effort to lure consumers back to a chain that’s often criticized as dowdy.
Mr. Johnson, who won plaudits for reinventing the retail experience with Apple stores’ clean lines and empty space, laid out an ambitious plan Wednesday that involves carving stores into a warren of specialty shops, turning the high-traffic center selling space into an entertainment and hang-out area, and eschewing constant “sales” in favor of lower prices every day.
The idea is to make stores more inviting, highlight brand names and gain more control over pricing.
“Some may call it crazy, but I don’t think there is an alternative,” Mr. Johnson said in an interview. “In an Internet age where you can have exactly what you want with one keyword, people won’t tolerate big stores. You have to break it down for them.”