J.C. Penney's reality checkSeptember 20, 2012: 12:38 PM ET
Johnson, who helped launch hundreds of retail stores for Apple, succeeded Mike Ullman as CEO of J.C. Penney last year. And investors had high hopes that he'd be able to swiftly turn things around for the retailer, which has been flailing with weak sales and an image problem
Just Wednesday, Johnson did a walk-through of J.C. Penney's new 'store within a store' concept with some 300 analysts. And he was pretty upbeat about how the shops were faring, which initially gave investors something to cheer about. But the stock did an about face, when Johnson said the second half of the year wouldn't look much different from the first half.
To be fair, it's a tough time for retailers everywhere.
And in Johnson's defense, he inherited a 110-year-old retail chain that was in desperate need of an overhaul so it is clearly going to keep going through some growing pains. "The goal has always been to transform it," Johnson told analysts Wednesday.
StockTwits traders aren't convinced he's got it right just yet.
That may be true, but overhauling the culture at any company takes a loooonnggg time. "What J.C. Penney is creating is a new interface," said Johnson, comparing the retailer's transition to Apple's iPhones.
In the meantime, investors should buckle up. The stock is down 25% since January.
Still, Citigroup (C) is still upbeat about JC Penney's future, reiterating its 'buy' rating on the stock. "We're fired up following a sneak peek of the new JCP prototype store," wrote Citi analyst Deborah Weinswig, in a research note. "JCP is clearly not out of ammo."