Why now? The effects of that January 25 "Fair and Square" announcement have worn off. JCPenney's stock price jumped by 20 percent when CEO Ron Johnson announced the new pricing approach, but the stock has lost all of that bump in the weeks since. That means it's time for something else Wall Street will like. And why in such convoluted, buzz-ridden language? It's hard enough to say you're laying off $200 million worth of store managers and associates. Getting rid of those people right in headquarters? There are no words. Or maybe just too many words.
Well, it sounded better back in January. On April 5, JCPenney said it has begun "reorganizing the workforce at its headquarters" to "realign its management structure," and "transitioning from a culture of management to one of leadership" to "operate like a start-up." Translation: Two months after the 110-year-old retailer announced an end to endless sales and an Apple-Store-like revamp of its 1,100 stores, the chain is chopping $200 million from its headquarters payroll. (CIO Ed Robben is already gone.)