J.C. Penney President Resigns After Eight Months

Former Target exec Michael Francis has resigned as president of J.C. Penney, a mere eight months after he took the position.

Former Apple stores head Ron Johnson remains CEO, and will take over the company’s marketing and merchandising functions.

Francis was formerly executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Target.

A J.C. Penney statement gave no reason for his departure. However, veteran retail consultant Walter Loeb tells JCK he believes that Francis was the “fall guy” for the mixed results the “transformed” Penney has seen so far. And he predicts the company will back-track on its no-promotions policy.

“I think they will get more promotional,” he says. “They have to do something to get people in the stores. The stores are empty.”

In the first quarter of 2012, J.C. Penney suffered a net loss of $163 million, compared with a $64 million profit last year, with the company’s comp store sales falling 18.9 percent.