JCPenney: I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. It’s hard not to root for JCPenney. They are another company we’ve been watching for years here at ROR. Mike Ullman is a veteran of retail turnarounds, and he’s fixed JCPenney once before. He is bringing back the proven game day strategies of private label brands and promotions to drive customer traffic. Reliable moves like closing unprofitable stores, and doubling down on key categories like home goods should serve JC Penney well. Ullman also knows how to establish benchmarks and communicate progress in a turnaround – he’s outlined a plan that stakeholders can understand and support –and he is delivering against that plan.
Toyota: If JPMorgan Chase is peaking at the right time, Toyota is doing the opposite. We’ve been following Toyota’s woes here on ROR for a few years now, and despite some valiant efforts to focus on safety, such as the launch of its new Collaborative Safety Project, Toyota is announcing recalls almost as frequently as retailers report same store sales. The recent Lexus recall, combined with the $1.2 billion dollar settlement makes the company an underdog in this tournament.
Winner: JCPenney. Because great coaches win big games.
Up Next: General Motors vs. Bank of America