Supplement | HBS Case Collection | January 2014

J.C. Penney's 'Fair and Square' Strategy (B): Out with the New, In with the Old

by Elie Ofek, Jill Avery and Jose B. Alvarez

Abstract

In his August 2012 earnings call, CEO Ron Johnson urged investors to be patient and stay the course with the revised JC Penney marketing strategy despite mounting negative financial indicators. The heart of the strategy was the "Fair and Square" approach to pricing. This was a switch from J.C. Penney's previous high-low pricing program to a new everyday low pricing policy that aimed to fit with a radical repositioning of the JC Penney business model and brand. However, with sales continuing to decline the Board fired Johnson in April 2013 and appointed Johnson's predecessor Myron E. "Mike" Ullman III as his successor. What would Ullman do to stop JC Penney's losses? Would he push forward with Johnson's "Fair and Square" vision; would he return to the former strategy; could he manage a hybrid strategy; or would he define a new path for the retailer to follow?

Keywords: Decisions; Marketing Strategy; Retail Industry;

Citation:

Ofek, Elie, Jill Avery, and Jose B. Alvarez. "J.C. Penney's 'Fair and Square' Strategy (B): Out with the New, In with the Old." Harvard Business School Supplement 514-085, January 2014.