J.C. Penney is a company with an unusual problem. The retailer no longer has a chief executive or a chief finance officer.
On Thursday, the company announced that J.C. Penney CFO Jeffrey Davis had resigned, just 14 months after taking the job. Another top JCP executive, Jerry Murray, will take over as the company’s interim financial officer.
The departure deepens the crisis at the retailer. In May, the company’s chief executive Marvin Ellison also bailed on J.C. Penney, taking the top job at Lowe’s. Ellison has still not been replaced, which leaves Penney with a lack of leadership that is causing some concern in the markets.
Following the news, shares in J.C. Penney stock fell 9% to a record low on Friday, settling around $1.60 a share. The company is more than $4 billion in debt, an especially punishing balance to carry as the chain struggles to become as profitable as it once was.
As the chain has struggled to stay relevant in recent years, it has tried moving away from its reliance on apparel and focusing on new departments such as toys and overhauled appliance sections. The retail giant also tried to lure back customers by expanding its loyalty program in 2017.
Despite some success with new in-store initiatives, J.C. Penney closed 140 of its 1,000 stores in 2017 after saying that brick-and-mortar was essential to fulfilling online orders, many of which were picked up in stores. The stores the company ended up choosing to close only made up 5% of its sales.
J.C. Penney has said it will close another eight stores in 2018.