Stealth Layoffs At J.C. Penney, Reports Say

JC Penney job cutsBy Kim Bhasin

J.C. Penney Co. is quietly eliminating more positions in its stores company-wide, sources familiar with the matter told us. Store managers watched a "secret broadcast" on Tuesday afternoon, where they were informed that stores must prepare to "work harder with less" in 2013.

"Service Leaders," "administrative assistants," and "office/cash room associates" are being cut from the hierarchy, effective April 5, sources told us. There's no word yet on exactly how many people the cuts will affect, and there has been no official announcement from J.C. Penney. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

More: Stealth Layoffs Become Widespread

One company exec told us that the number is in "the thousands," since every store has administrative assistants and cash room associates, and James Covert at the New York Post reported that the final tally will end up at 1,500.

Around 300 of J.C. Penney's 1,100 stores have service leaders, with two to four of them in each of those stores, depending on their size, according to the exec.

A service leader is J.C. Penney lingo for a sales manager, explained an employee who was informed yesterday that he's being laid off. He described his job as "basically a second-level store manager" who had overseen multiple departments in the store.

"It was right after a secret broadcast that we were all called, one by one, to be notified about the dismissal. We were told thank you for your hard work, your last day will be April 5," said the manager. "And there's nothing we could offer you."

More: JPMorgan Chase To Cut 17,000 Jobs Over The Next 2 Years

Not everyone whose positions were eliminated have been laid off though. A veteran J.C. Penney employee told us that some associates were offered sales or sales support positions at the company.

"That's a rather hollow offer," he said.

J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson is in the middle of a transformation attempt at the struggling retailer. To trim costs, 19,000 employees have lost their jobs at the company since Johnson took over.

Some store-level middle management positions were eliminated last year as part of the restructuring. Salon receptionists were recently cut in favor of "fresh out of school" stylists. In-store associates have also experienced major reductions.

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Hello Dear!!

We had a column appear locally re going into a mall locally and finding three sought after items quickly AT PENNEY'S THEN spending 12 minutes looking for a check out==suddenly a man came walking swiftly out of a stockroom carrying a do-hickey that scans purchases in the customer' arms/hands. I don't KNOW WHAT they do about bags??! There is virtually no interaction necessary from either party! AND THAT FOLK'S, IS THE END OF THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE.. ..AND THE END OF THE CHAIN ITSELF , IT WOULD SEEM== YIKES! IS IT ANY WONDER?

July 22 2013 at 1:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Can't afford Macy's or Nordstrom, Dillards and Sears are pricey, Target is too trendy, and Penny's is a mess. That leaves Walmart, which carries clothes that don't hold up and Kmart, at which I can find pretty good buys occasionally. Thank God for thrift stores!

March 13 2013 at 8:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

E-COMMERCE changed the way everyone shops.

once we stopped going "downtown" to see the decorated stores at Christmas.....well.......retail was toast....without the jelly.

March 07 2013 at 4:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It doesn't look like hiring Ellen Degenerate helped them.

March 07 2013 at 4:24 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

In retail, once you're done you're done. No matter how slick the brand once was, as soon as you lose it you never get it back. We tend to avoid the carcass on the beach. I cannot think of any major retailer that has come back after a reorganization. And it doesn't matter what tier of retail you're at--bottom to top, it's all the same. And it's been tried before: Zayre's became Ames became history. G. Fox rolled into May Co., May went to somewhere and the whole company vanished (I think they are attached to Macy's (?) somehow. Or Federated. One could argue that there's never been a Walmart before. Of course there has, it''s just that WM put all the competitors out of business or swallowed them whole. We call them category killers but Western Auto used to be huge. As were Sears and Penney--and both of them are circling the drain.

March 07 2013 at 4:18 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

They are definitely not like they were 5 years ago. I will miss them.

March 07 2013 at 4:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Past retail worker here.

So where does JC Penney plan to get their future store managers then? I guess they will do what so many retail stores do - high from other companies. Then management has ZERO idea of how the internals work.

I can't understand why companies don't promote hiring from within more? It's just ridiculous.

BTW - I worked at Staples, Circuit City and Bestbuy. They all had "store allowances" on destroying goods and not counting against their budgets/losses. I watched them break a TV that would have sold for probably $700-800 and cost the store originally $2700. So instead of take a $2000 sales loss, they wrote it off against their "not salable" budget so that it doesn't hit their bonuses.

This is just stupid business practices. I've seen this at least 30-40 times when working at those 3 companies and I'm certain it still goes on at 2 of them to this day. Heck even stores throw out merchandise because of weird rules etc.

March 07 2013 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

money going to taxes not jc penny

March 07 2013 at 3:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would think they need to let go executives as well. In the end, they are the one's making the poor decisions which have lead to the layoffs.

March 07 2013 at 2:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't like the new Penney's used to shop there all the time but after they did away with the sales and coupons they lost me if I wanted to shop with higher than mighty, trend setting shoppers I would have gone to Macy's and Nordstroms but I prefered shopping with the Penney's crowd. Now I shop Sears, and Kohl's but I really prefer the old Penney's.

March 07 2013 at 2:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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