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J.C. Penney Announces Realignment, Tighe Exit

Reorgs are becoming standard practice in apparel retail these days.

This time, it’s J.C. Penney.

The department store announced an organizational restructuring of its merchandising team to achieve speed and agility. Along with this change, the company has eliminated the chief merchant role, which had been held by John Tighe, who will be leaving the company.

Jodie Johnson, SVP and senior general merchandise manager of women’s apparel, Sephora, salon, women’s specialty, footwear and handbags; James Starke, SVP and senior general merchandise manager of men’s apparel, children’s apparel and jewelry; and Val Harris, SVP of product development and design, will report to chairman and CEO Marvin R. Ellison going forward.

Tony Hurst, SVP and general merchandise manager of home, will now also be responsible for custom window design and home services, as well as commercial sales. He will report to Joe McFarland, EVP of stores.

The move to streamline decision making will allow the executive team to “make dynamic buying decisions based on real-time customer data,” according to Ellison.

“This simplified structure offers greater flexibility, which is critical to ensuring our assortment remains fresh and relevant, and compels more shoppers to choose J.C. Penney,” Ellison said in the company’s statement.

These changes come just one week after the chain said it expects a loss of 40 to 45 cents per share in the third quarter as a result of severe inventory liquidation measures. Surprised shareholders sent the stock price down to $2.76, the lowest since 1980, according to Bloomberg.

In the same statement, J.C. Penney also announced it had centralized its pricing and planning & allocation teams to work under the new CFO. “Centralizing those functions allows the company to streamline its pricing, promotion and markdown strategies, and consolidate all forecasting and planning capabilities to begin improving its predictive analytics and provide leadership with a more focused view of current sales trends,” the company said.

J.C. Penney’s full third quarter earnings report is scheduled to be released Nov. 10.