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Sozzi: How J.C. Penney Has Used Stealth Science to Sidestep Death

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Not all analysis done on a retailer from inside a store is in the pursuit of spotting mistakes by executives and merchants. Sure, the dreadful state of Sears (SHLD - Get Report) could easily be brought to life by a walkthrough of ANY Sears or Kmart location, especially in Canada. At that particular chain, there are ZERO positives to record. But, many retailers actually are doing things correctly from merchandising (which includes lighting, fixtures, and folding), to customer service, to getting consumers to open their wallets.

J.C. Penney (JCP - Get Report), believe it or not, currently falls under the heading of a retailer doing more right than wrong in its stores, partially explaining the recovery in the stock price from the 52-week low hit on Feb. 5, 2014. What, you thought Macy's (M - Get Report) and Nordstrom (JWN - Get Report) were the only department stores that excite people enough to buy items they don't really need?

Here is the science J.C. Penney is using in its stores to temporarily diminish the threat of bankruptcy by reconnecting with customers (and perhaps gaining new customers), positioning the chain for a new CEO to be announced in February 2015.

On the outside, J.C. Penney still resembles the Babyboomer Mom Store of America. But, on the inside, J.C. Penney has taken the fixtures it's still paying for from the era of former CEO Ron Johnson and has done this...

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JCP $8.93 -1.11%
JWN $48.71 -1.70%
M $37.90 -2.02%
SHLD $13.99 -4.96%
TGT $78.13 -1.98%


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