JCPenney (JCP) just keeps getting worse — as of this writing, JCP stock was sitting 14% in the red amid a flat-to-slightly down day for the broader markets.
Just yesterday I warned investors not to catch this falling JCP knife, noting that every time JCPenney stock seems to have finally hit rock-bottom, things go from bad to worse.
At its worst point Wednesday, JCP shares actually dipped below $10 — a level JCPenney stock hasn’t hit since the turn of the century, according to CNN Money.
Consider this just the latest black mark on a reeling Penney.
JCP Keeps Getting Worse
The JCP saga has been one of many twists and turns, but the end direction for JCPenney stock has been south for some time.
Penney’s stock has stumbled — OK, plummeted — an ugly 60% during the past 52 weeks, and the stock is a whopping 90% off its early 2007 highs around $85.
Pershing Square hedge fund manager Bill Ackman bet on Penney’s turnaround in late 2010, when shares had already fallen to around $25 a piece. He snatched up 18% of JCPenney stock, then stuck Ron Johnson — a former star at Apple (AAPL) and Target (TGT) — at the helm.
That turned out to be a disaster. Johnson decided that Penney should move away from the “sales” strategy, meaning an end to markdowns and coupons.
In a way, his strategy worked out — JCP definitely saw its sales dwindle. In 2012 alone, revenues were off by about 25%.
Johnson tried to bring back JCPenney customers by bringing back discounts, but that fell short, too. He was subsequently fired, and old Penney chief Mike Ullman was tabbed to take over … and that hasn’t worked, either. In the most recent quarter, JCPenney posted a 12% decline in sales and same-store sales, and its adjusted loss of $2.16 per share was twice as wide as analysts were expecting.
No wonder Ackman and Vornado Realty Trust (VNO) have both swallowed their losses in JCPenney stock and headed for the exit.
Sell or Avoid JCPenney Stock
Despite the losses Ackman and VNO endured, selling JCP when they did ended up being the right move.
And looking forward, there’s just no reason to waste your time with JCPenney stock at this point in the game.
The outlook for the broader retail sector — peppered by bad news from generally successful companies such as Macy’s (M) and Walmart (WMT) — has been murky lately, leaving little hope hope for a bleeding retailer like Penney. The company supposedly is considering raising more capital, and analysts already are saying that it had a weak back-to-school shopping season. Shocker.
While the stock likely will see some short-term recoveries, trying to time them is a fool’s game. JCPenney hit a new 52-week low yesterday — and any bottom fishers were promptly punished by the ugly implosion that followed today.
Bottom line: Stay away from JCP. It’s hard to see when JCPenney stock will finally find a floor.
As of this writing, Alyssa Oursler did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.