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JCPenney Stock Up on News of CFO Appointment

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New CFO appointed

JCPenney (JCP) stock rose 3.3% in after-market trading hours yesterday as the company announced the appointment of Bill Wafford as its executive vice president and chief financial officer, effective April 8. Wafford joins JCPenney from Vitamin Shoppe (VSI), where he has been serving as executive vice president and CFO since June 2018. JCPenney stock was up about 3% as of 10:21 AM ET today.

JCPenney has been looking for the right candidate for the CFO position since former CFO Jeffrey Davis resigned, effective October 1, 2018. The company then appointed Michael Fung as interim CFO, effective October 30.

In October, JCPenney also appointed Jill Soltau as its new CEO after Marvin Ellison resigned, effective June 1, to assume the role of Lowe’s (LOW) CEO.

Several top executives quit JCPenney last year as the company continued to struggle amid intense competition in the retail market from online retailers and off-price retailers.

Stock movement and analysts’ ratings

JCPenney stock was up 46.2% on a year-to-date basis as of March 26. The stock has risen 22.6% since the company announced its fiscal 2018 fourth-quarter results on February 28. JCPenney’s revenue fell 8.4% to $3.79 billion in the fourth quarter, and its adjusted EPS declined 64.7% to $0.18. However, the company’s fourth-quarter results were better than analysts expected.

As of March 26, the stock price of JCPenney’s department store peer Kohl’s (KSS) has risen 3.9% while Macy’s (M) and Nordstrom (JWN) declined 19.6% and 6.2%, respectively.

As of March 26, JCPenney stock was rated a “hold” by ten out of 14 analysts while four analysts rated it a “sell.” JCPenney’s management faces the challenging task of reviving the mid-tier department store’s top line, addressing its huge debt burden, and improving its deteriorating bottom line.

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