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Merchandising Chief Out at J.C. Penney to ‘Streamline Decision-Making’

Merchandising Chief Out at J.C. Penney to ‘Streamline Decision-Making’

The role of chief merchandising officer has been eliminated at big-box department store J.C. Penney, CNBC reports. The retailer says in its press release that the move is part of an “organizational restructuring to streamline decision-making and promote greater agility within its merchandise buying teams.”

The retailer says chief merchant John Tighe is leaving the company for another opportunity and other merchandising roles within the department are being redefined.

“Today’s executive realignment reflects a growing need to ensure our company remains nimble and flexible amid the constant change and transformation in the retail environment,” says J.C. Penney CEO Marvin Ellison in the release. “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.”

CNBC reports that the retailer is making the change to its merchandising team as it refocuses on selling appliances instead of apparel. J.C. Penney added appliances to 500 stores last year, the first time the retailer has sold the category since the 1980s. The retailer also added other home improvement-related products and services throughout the last year, including HVAC supplies and bathroom remodel services.

In addition to exploring new category opportunities, the retailer is also exploring new ways to use technology. Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported that J.C. Penney’s finance chief Jeffrey Davis says the retailer will begin using more technology to help the company improve its decision-making and its price image in an effort to reduce its debt.

“Our vision [is] to evolve this organization, either through human resources mining the data or other tools, to be much more nimble than in the past,” Davis says in the article.

Davis was previously the finance chief at Walmart, according to the Journal.

In the company’s third-quarter sales report released today, the retailer saw larger-than-expected increases in same-store sales and revenue, according to CNBC. Same-store sales increased 1.7 percent, 1.2 percentage points higher than expected, and revenue for the quarter reached $2.81 billion, $40 million ahead of expectations.

About Melanie Moul

Melanie Moul
Melanie is the features editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She studied professional writing and sociology at York College of Pennsylvania and then worked in central Pennsylvania for several years as a barista and an editor. She returned to the Hoosier State in late 2016 to join the NRHA team. She enjoys cooking and sharing the results with her husband, dog and cat.