In the following video, Jeremy Phillips and Austin Smith speculate on what they'd do if they were J.C. Penney's CEO.

Austin says J.C. Penney should exit its leases, focus on stores that occupy owned real estate, and follow the example of a company like The Buckle, which controls its growth, has an industry-leading supply chain, and focuses on a high-margin private label that helps it differentiate itself from other department stores

Austin doesn't think J.C. Penney can ever be great again, but he does think CEO Ron Johnson has given it his best effort.

Austin Smith owns shares of Apple and The Buckle. Jeremy Phillips owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple and The Buckle. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.