COMMENTARY
7:30 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Rest in Peace, JCP

Credit JC Penney / WikiMedia Commons

J.C. Penney has been struggling to rebrand.  After replacing the CEO, they have reverted to their former retail image.


You’ve heard and read enough about J.C. Penney this year. All the mistakes a new, young CEO made. The horrible results. The hundreds of millions it cost stockholders. But the final chapter in the reclamation of the company is worth its own exclamation mark.

The company has pitched out the last vestige of the failed Don Johnson regime: his logo. Among all the critical elements in retailing that he tried to change overnight was J.C. Penney’s brand and its logo. He changed the J.C. Penney brand to JCP, and changed the Penney logo from the simple, all type J.C. Penney name to a design that only a CEO could love.

He wanted the new logo to represent a new pricing philosophy – also a failure – that he called square-deal pricing. So naturally the simple J.C. Penney type became a large square with a smaller square in the top lefthand corner of the big square. The smaller square had the initials "JCP."

That meant, of course, that the new JCP brand was only twenty-five-percent as big as the logo where ever it was used. So the situation was a new, unfamiliar brand name reduced to one-quarter of a new, unfamiliar logo.

If the reclamation effort of J.C. Penney were dealing only with the logo, at least that makes sense. Little else at J.C. Penney has for the last couple years.

Rest in peace, JCP.

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