JCPenney Says Thanks for Coming Back, but Isn't It a Little Soon for a Victory Dance?

What a difference two weeks makes

Is JCPenney stocking up on slacks with extra room in the crotch? I'm inclined to think so, judging from its ballsy move of releasing a feel-good commercial from Young & Rubicam thanking consumers for "coming back" to the troubled retailer just two weeks after an ad apologizing for missteps under ousted CEO Ron Johnson. Many web commenters have posed the obvious question: "Isn't it too soon to say thank you?" Sure is. Just do the math, Einstein! Penney is set to release first-quarter earnings this week that reflect a 16 percent sales slump following a $4.3 billion loss in sales last year. In fairness, the chain has begun making changes under new CEO Myron Ullman, reviving coupons, sales and its St. John's Bay collection. And its recent mea culpa and #JCPlistens social outreach campaign have been well received. Still, two weeks of anything—and Penney offers no particulars—won't right this ship. Heck, even two good quarters probably wouldn't be enough. That doesn't mean I don't applaud JCP's moxie. For all its muted, mom-centric imagery, the new spot bespeaks a certain swaggering style—i.e., "We're back because we say we're back!" At least there's some substance here, with Penney returning to its roots and focusing on core values. That beats another troubled retailer's strategy of tossing Robin Thicke and phallic symbols into a video and hoping for the best.