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The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: Feb. 1

Stocks in this article: HLF

3. No More Johnson Jokes

Sorry, Dumbest fans, but we're going to play J.C. Penney's (JCP) latest dumb episode straight. No jokes. No puns. No pith. Just boring old news.

You want to know why?

Simple. We frankly have no clever remarks left in our cupboard to hurl at the retailer. We admitted as much last November when we capitulated to CEO Ron "No More Sales" Johnson in the wake of his holiday-sale announcement.

So what's our response to Tuesday's news that Johnson is bringing back sales at the struggling retailer? What more can we do when he says this latest maneuver is not a "deviation" from his strategy but an "evolution"?

Nada. We're tapped out.

"Our sales have gone backward a little more than we expected, but that doesn't change the vision or the strategy," Johnson told the AP. "We made changes, and we learned an incredible amount. That is what's informing our tactics as we go forward."

Sure, Ron.

Penney lost $433 million, or $1.98 per share, during the first nine months of its current fiscal year, compared with a loss of $65 million, or 30 cents, last year. Total sales dropped 23% to $9.1 billion. Next month, analysts expect Penney to post a loss of 17 cents on sales of $4.22 billion for the fourth quarter.

Great job, Ron.

Penney won't divulge the number of sales events it has planned for 2013. Yet it did confirm its new strategy of displaying the "manufacturer's suggested retail price" next to Penney's "everyday" price. Except, of course, for merchandise that is part of exclusive partnerships with brands like Nicole Miller and Mango, in which case it will only show J.C. Penney's price.

"There are no makeup prices here," Johnson said. "It's all about trying to communicate what it's worth to the customer."

Right, Ron.

"A year ago, we were launching a major transformation and didn't know what to expect," he said. "Today, I know what happened. Our team has a year's worth of history. This is going to be a great year because the new JCP is coming to life for customers."

Whatever you say, Ron.

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