business news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email yesterday from MNB reader Sarah Hamaker
reacting to our story about JC Penney’s troubles:

I'm not surprised that JC Penney can't seem to catch a break. A personal experience involving a simple curtain order illustrates why.

Last year, I took advantage of their "order online and pick up in store" option, and it took not once, not twice but THREE times for the company to ship me the right curtain (sent me TWICE a clearly-labeled and visible-to-the-naked-eye ivory curtain when I had ordered a green curtain). Each trip to the bricks-and-mortar store took at least half an hour once I reached the checkout counter. And, while the in-store clerks tried their best to help solve this problem not of their making, they were hampered by a very cumbersome online system that necessitated returning the wrongly sent curtain, ordering a new one, and applying all the correct discounts I had received on my original order.

Suffice it to say that whenever I see ads for JC Penney, I shudder at the thought of buying anything from that company again, no matter how steep the discounts.

And, from MNB reader Richard Lowe:

As an entrepreneurial start up in 1987 onward for 20 years dealing with retailers of differing sorts - 1st mail order - then specialty - then big boxes and brick and mortar. Sears and JC Penny had to fall into the worst to do business with! They had so many rules and hurdles to overcome it cost more to process and order than could possibly be made in profit. They did no place of picture product correctly even after detailed instruction. Why do we need them?

MNB reader Henry Stein had some thoughts about yesterday’s Retail Tomorrow podcast:

Loved the Podcast on BOPIS. Great analysis by all the panelists.

Got a kick out of the Starbucks Roastery (positive) comment coming just before you published your (less than positive) report. Timing is everything.

Good stuff!!

But MNB user Tony Moore had a different reaction:

I guess only white men in their 40's have a thought about the future of retail.  For a guy who talks diversity, you don't appear to be "doin' the walk"  Surprised to see you moderating such a homogeneous panel group  on "Retail Tomorrow.”

First of all, I think I’m flattered that you included me as being part of a panel of “white men in their 40’s.” I wish.

As for your diversity point … it is completely legitimate. The homogeneous makeup of the panel was not deliberate; it just worked out that way. But that’s a lousy excuse, and I’m confident when I say to you that we will address the issue in the future.
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