Following J.C. Penney's bankruptcy and the departure of CEO Jill Soltau, Stanley Shashoua took the helm as interim CEO. Shashoua is also the chief investment officer of mall owner Simon Property Group, one of J.C. Penney's new owners post-bankruptcy. In an interview, Shashoua sounded an optimistic note, citing "week-over-week improvements" in the retailer's business, with home goods and athletic apparel representing two particularly bright spots. He also said that customers are returning to stores to buy dresses and formal attire after months spent in sweatpants and quarantine.
J.C. Penney is still searching for a permanent CEO. According to Shashoua, there is plenty of interest, with the retailer's stature and longevity working in its favor. Of course, stature and longevity weren't (and won't be) enough to save other department store chains, as the grim case of Sears illustrates.
Penney hopes to avoid the fate of the iconic department store chain Sears. Since filing for bankruptcy in 2018, Sears has slowly been whittling down its store footprint to become a fraction of its former self.