J.C. Penney executive brought in for changes leaves company

A top executive at department store giant J.C. Penney is leaving the company amid declining sales.

Michael Francis, who was handpicked by Chief Executive Ron Johnson, left the company Monday, the company announced in a news release.

Francis, a former Target Corp. executive, was brought in by Johnson in October to take over merchandising, marketing and product development to redefine the company’s brand.

The retailer lost $163 million, or 75 cents a share, in its first quarter this year, which ended April 28. Revenue was down 20.1% to $3.15 billion. At the same time, the company said it had experienced an 18.9% drop in same-store sales compared with the first quarter of 2011.

The company based in Plano, Texas, gave no reason for Francis’ immediate departure but said Johnson would assume direct responsibility and oversight of the company’s marketing and merchandising functions.


“We thank Michael for his hard work at J.C. Penney and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” Johnson said in the news release.

J.C. Penney shares fell nearly 6% to $22.94 in after-hours trading Monday the departure was announced.


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