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Retailer J.C. Penney fires chief operating officer, no reason given

Retailer J.C. Penney fires chief operating officer, no reason given

Department-store operator J.C. Penney Co. said Thursday it fired its chief operating officer but gave no reason for the move.
Catherine West, 47, who also held the title of executive vice president, had been COO since July. She had no retail experience, according to the biography Penney issued at the time.
A two-sentence news release from Penney Thursday gave no explanation for West's firing, and the company declined to make Chairman and Chief Executive Myron E. Ullman III available for comment.
"Her dismissal has nothing to do with performance of the company or holiday sales," said Penney spokeswoman Darcie Brossart. She declined to comment further.
Penney posted impressive same-store sales gains above 8 percent in September and October, although November sales at stores open at least one year rose just 1.4 percent, below the 3.7 percent increase predicted by analysts and last year's November gain of 3.6 percent.
Deborah Weinswig, a Citigroup analyst who was briefed by Ullman, said in a note to clients that the firing "came as a result of Ms. West not being a good fit for the company."
Kurt Barnard, president of Barnard's Retail Consulting Group in Nutley, New Jersey, said "Penney has been doing very well, so (West's firing) couldn't possibly be that. A terse statement like this invites speculation."
West joined Penney from Capital One Financial Corp., where she had been president of its U.S. credit card division. She also spent nine years at First USA Bank, rising to executive vice president of marketing services.
Upon her hiring, Ullman had called West "a world-class service sector executive" with a strong record in financial performance and customer and employee relations. Ullman had said her experience would help Penney plan for growth.
The company said officials in store operations, property development and logistics would report directly to Ullman, as they had before West's hiring.
The property-development unit is key to Penney's plans for adding 150 stores over the next three years. Penney has been looking for real estate outside of malls. Its new locations compete with Kohl's Corp. and other stand-alone U.S. retailers.


Updated : 2021-02-28 18:33 GMT+08:00