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By Jason Stipp and Jeremy Glaser | 04-12-2013 06:00 AM

The Friday Five

Five stats from the market and the stories behind them. This week: 17 months and no turnaround at J.C. Penney, a 14% drop-off for PCs, and more.

Jason Stipp: I'm Jason Stipp for Morningstar, and welcome to The Friday Five: five stats from the market and the stories behind them. Joining me as always with the details is Morningstar markets editor Jeremy Glaser.

Jeremy, thanks for being here.

Jeremy Glaser: Thanks, Jason.

Stipp: So, what do you have for the Friday five this week?

Glaser: Were going to look at the number 17, minus 14%, 150, 3, and 7.

Stipp: 17 months is the tenure of Ron Johnson at J.C. Penney. He came in with quite a big splash. He left and the stock took another tumble. What should we think about J.C. Penney now that he wasn't able to turn the ship around?

Glaser: Ron Johnson came into J.C. Penney really with a bang, and he is leaving with a whimper. He had a very illustrious career in retail, starting from Target, then starting at Apple stores, and I think the hope was that bringing him into J.C. Penney was going to be a way to add some more luster and shine to that brand. It just didn't really work out.

He had a grand vision that he was going to build the "stores within stores." They were going to make them a little bit more upscale. They were going to get rid of discounts and just have everyday low prices. His strategy just did not resonate with the consumers.

They saw their same-store sales continue to decline pretty precipitously at times. They were burning through cash pretty quickly as the store renovations were not inexpensive, and it was just in untenable position. And although they started to make some adjustments--he brought back some discounting in a very limited way--it just wasn't enough for the board. They dismissed him and are bringing back [Mike] Ullman, who was the CEO before [Johnson] started. And this is hardly a panacea that's going to all of a sudden make J.C. Penney a very attractive proposition to consumers again.

Paul Swinand, who is our J.C. Penney analyst, thinks there is still a lot of transformation that needs to happen in order for J.C. Penney to really be on sustainable footing. And it's going to take a lot of changes, a lot of decisions about how much of what Johnson did do we want to keep? How much are we going to roll back? What you do with pricing? I think that until we know more about Ullman's vision for J.C. Penney, it's harder to say exactly what that company is going to look like, but I think we're anxiously waiting to see if he has a plan that can help turn around that decline and that tailspin really that they're in right now.

Stipp: Speaking of downward trends, 14% is the drop in PC sales. It's not surprising to see PC sales go down, but is the magnitude a surprise?

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