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Report: J.C. Penney lays off 2,200 store and office associates

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The ax has fallen — again — at J.C. Penney Co. The retailer laid off approximately 2,200 employees in its stores and district offices on Wednesday, The Dallas Morning News reported.

The majority of the staff cuts occurred in some 100 stores that had significant sales declines last year, spokeswoman Daphne Avilla said in the report, with Penney adjusting the employee count to match each store’s new level of business.

In addition, administrative and back office jobs were also cut across Penney’s 1,100 stores and in 55 district offices, The Dallas Morning News reported. In stores, department management duties are also being consolidated.

The cuts come as criticism of CEO Ron Johnson and his ambitious plan to transform Penney continues to mount. Former Penney chairman and CEO Allen Questrom has joined the ranks of those calling for Johnson to be replaced.

“All these people are worried about Johnson keeping his job. It’s crazy,” Questrom told The Dallas Morning News in a phone interview on Wednesday. “What about all these Penney employees?

“It’s an old company, and he’s putting the nails in the coffin if they don’t start making some changes. There’s no reason to wait another quarter.”

The board “has allowed this to go on too long,” Questrom said. “I have to believe they are looking for his replacement.”

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Expert: Ongoing trial could seriously tarnish Martha Stewart brand

BY Marianne Wilson

Dallas — The current trial involving Martha Stewart, J.C. Penney Co. and Macy’s could seriously damage the value of the Martha Stewart brand, according to litigation media relations and crisis management expert David Margulies, president of Marguilies Communications Group.

"Even if the court rules in her favor the perception will be that Stewart stabbed a longtime loyal business partner in the back,” he said. “The public looks at legal issues from a point of fairness rather than from the specific legal issues involved.”

Stewart has been critical of Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren for hanging up on her when she was describing her agreement with Penney.

"I was quite taken back by his response and when he hung up on me I was quite flabbergasted,” Stewart testified in court.

However, Marguilies said, “Lundgren did what any experienced CEO would do when he was alerted to a situation that was likely to lead to litigation. He ended the conversation without making any comment that would jeopardize his company’s legal position."

Marguilies said the current litigation has not only resulted in damaging news stories concerning the poor performance of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, but also brought additional negative publicity for Penney “at the worst possible time.”

Marguilies is author of the book, “Crisis Management in the Internet Age,” in which he recommends companies establish the role of a devil’s advocate to push back against decisions that can lead to this type of litigation and negative publicity.

"Stewart continues to act as someone who believes they have a special sense of entitlement,” Margulies said.

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buangsila001 says:
Mar-14-2013 05:14 am

The Margulies Communications Group is an award-winning public relations agency. They help their clients meet business objectives. - JKaleFlagg

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Target and Fast Company launch mobile competition

BY Marianne Wilson

New YorkFast Company magazine and Target are sponsoring a competition, the Target Retail Accelerator, that will award $75,000 to a developer who creates the best new mobile app or mobile website for the retailer.

Fast Company will chronicle the developers’ efforts on the website of its new technology vertical Co.Labs.

"Innovation is core to Target’s culture and strategy, and we are always looking for new ideas to enhance the shopping experience for our guests," Target president for multichannel and SVP enterprise strategy Casey Carl said. "We’re proud to partner with an innovative publication like Fast Company, and we can’t wait to see what the developer community brings to the table through the Retail Accelerator.”

Entries for the Retail Accelerator challenge will be accepted March 8 to April 30. Seven finalists will be selected in May by a panel of judges including Target and Fast Company executives, as well as industry experts to be named at a later date. Each finalist will receive $10,000 to put toward development of their prototypes. The finalists will then build and present refined prototypes, and in July a winner will be announced to receive the $75,000 grand prize. Target will then work to bring the winning idea to life.

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G.Han says:
Mar-27-2013 05:03 pm

The Fast Company magazine managers know how to create a product based business, they even sponsor the Target Retail Accelerator competition. A lot of people are interested in this, the grand prize of $75000 is very motivating, my son finished the Technical University and he also wants to try his luck.

G.Han says:
Mar-27-2013 05:03 pm

The Fast Company magazine managers know how to create a product based business, they even sponsor the Target Retail Accelerator competition. A lot of people are interested in this, the grand prize of $75000 is very motivating, my son finished the Technical University and he also wants to try his luck.

B.Moles says:
Mar-11-2013 01:57 am

This is awesome! $75,000 is really a big prize for the best mobile app developer.It's not easy to create such applications and I think there are numbers of them will join this competition. regards, brent

B.Moles says:
Mar-11-2013 01:57 am

This is awesome! $75,000 is really a big prize for the best mobile app developer.It's not easy to create such applications and I think there are numbers of them will join this competition. regards, brent

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