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J.C. Penney Co. announces layoffs at Plano headquarters
Plano-based J.C. Penney Co. laid off 600 employees at its corporate headquarters Thursday morning, the latest in a move to transform the company under the tutelage of its new chief executive officer.
The workers account for more than 10 percent of the staff at the Legacy Drive headquarters in western Plano. The layoffs were not specifically mentioned in a press release issued by CEO Ron Johnson on Thursday morning, but were hinted at in January when investors were told the Texas-based company intended to cut costs by $900 million by the end of 2013, including $200 million from its headquarters.
"We are also transitioning from a culture based on management to one based on leadership," Johnson said in Thursday's release. "We are going to operate like a start-up. ... Often in business, companies must streamline in order to leap forward. In our case, this has involved some very difficult decisions that have had an impact on many of our associates, but these changes are essential to help us achieve our long-term goals and, ultimately, grow our associate base as we grow our business."
The company has also announced plans to close a customer call center in Pittsburgh, Penn. later this year, which will eliminate another 300 jobs.
Johnson, who received $53.3 million in total compensation last year according to the Wall Street Journal, was hired as CEO in November after having worked as an executive at Apple. He was tasked with turning around a company that has seen its stock drop nearly 60 percent in the last five years.
One of the first moves Johnson made was changing the way the company sold its products. The company has a new marketing campaign touting its low prices, while eliminating sales and other promotions.
"Simplicity is one of the guiding principles of our transformation," Johnson said. "In years past, we've motivated our customers with endless promotions and discounts, and that required a lot of process-oriented work. At the new jcpenney, we're beginning to inspire customers with great merchandise, an exciting shopping environment and 'Fair and Square' pricing. Just 60 days into our transformation, we can see -- more clearly than we even imagined -- that this is a simpler way to do business and a better way to compete."