In a corporate reshuffle at its Dallas home office, J.C. Penney has promoted James Starke (pictured) to head of merchandising for men’s, children’s, home, and jewelry.
Starke’s previous title at the department store chain was listed as senior vice president and senior general merchandise manager of men’s apparel, children’s apparel, and jewelry. He first took on that particular title in November. Prior to that, Starke oversaw only the men’s and kids’ departments.
Starke will report to Joe McFarland, who has just been named as the retailer’s executive vice president of stores and chief customer officer. McFarland joined the retailer in January 2016 as executive vice president of stores. Like Penney CEO Marvin Ellison, Starke came from Home Depot, where he worked for 20 years
Additionally, Therace Risch has been appointed chief digital officer and chief information officer, which reflects her added responsibility for omnichannel retail. Risch’s new position involves creating a “seamless omnichannel experience” across the retailer’s websites and fleet of stores.
The reshuffle means that Mike Amend, who previously held the title of executive vice president of omnichannel, will be leaving the company. Amend has been with the retailer since August 2015.
Additionally, the retailer has slashed 130 positions in its Dallas home office in a cost-cutting move. It also restructured its group, regional, district, and store support teams, resulting in the elimination of approximately 230 jobs.
The news comes as J.C. Penney delivered results for its fourth quarter of fiscal 2017 (ended Feb. 3) that surpassed analysts’ expectations. Comparable sales for the quarter, which includes the holiday selling season, increased 2.6 percent. Total sales increased 1.8 percent to $4.03 billion. Net income was $254 million, compared to $192 million last year, due to a benefit from tax reform.
Jewelry was singled out as one of the retailer’s strongest divisions during the quarter, along with home, Sephora, footwear and handbags, and salon.
(Photo from LinkedIn)