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Francis out at JCP, already?


PLANO, Texas — Investors who were holding out for some of MichaelFrancis' Target marketing magic to rub off on JCPenney will be left wondering what could have been, as the company announced Francis' departure effective Monday.

CEO Ron Johnson will assume direct responsibility and oversight of the company's marketing and merchandising functions.

Johnson said, "We thank Michael for his hard work at JCPenney and wish him the best in his future endeavors."

As often happens with these sort of announcements, no detail was given on the reason of the departure. However, with the company reporting a net loss of $55 million, or 25 cents per share, and a comparable-store sales decline of 18.9%, assumptions will no doubt be made.

Francis was brought in as president of JCPenney on Oct. 4, by fellow former Target executive, Johnson. At Target, Francis served as chief marketing officer since 2008, previously serving as EVP marketing from 2001, and helped shape the retailer's image as a fun, trendy company. Johnson saw potential in Francis and in newly imagined department store experience.

It looks like that experience may be put on hold.

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