Report: J.C. Penney talks post-bankruptcy turnaround, CEO search

Marianne Wilson
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J.C. Penney is seeing weekly improvement in its business.

In an interview with CNBC, Penney interim CEO Stanley Shashoua cited growth in home goods and athletic apparel, both of which have flourished during the pandemic. More recently, customers have been shopping Penney for Easter dresses and other formal wear.

“J.C. Penney is a great American family destination, and our strength is in our storied brands and the services we provide,” Shashoua told CNBC in a phone interview. “We’re seeing week-over-week improvements in the business, and we’re increasingly optimistic as we work our way through this.”

Shashoua was took the reins as interim CEO in January, following the abrupt exit of Jill Soltau, who left following the chain’s emergence from bankruptcy and acquisition by Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management. Shashoua is the chief investment officer of Simon Property Group.

As to Penney’s search for a permanent CEO, Shashoua said the company is taking its time.

“We’ve gotten a lot of interest from a lot of very high-quality, highly qualified people,” he said. “And that’s very encouraging.”

On the merchandise front, Shashoua said the retailer will be focused during the coming months categories such as home goods, men’s merchandise in big-and-tall sizes, women’s apparel in inclusive size ranges, and baby and kids gear. He also wants to grow Penney’s online business.

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