J.C. Penney (OTC:JCPN.Q) is still a mess under CEO Ron Johnson. He came with quite the resume, but there's a big difference between running a department-store chain and watching over the retail arm of the world's most valuable tech company.

Everyone assumed that Friday morning's report would be bad, but could anyone had fathomed that it would be this bad? After all, weren't some of the brands that were kicking the "store in a store" approach posting strong initial results at the remodeled stores?

Whether they were or not, the result was ugly, as comps for its latest quarter plunged an inexplicable 26%. Let's see if free haircuts to kids on Sundays will bail the floundering retailer out. Oh, right -- folks looking for free snips for their tots aren't exactly the type to spend money at a department-store chain.

Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.

  • Windstream (NASDAQ:WINMQ) shares tumbled nearly 10% on Thursday after posting a disappointing quarterly report. With shares of the regional telco now yielding more than 11%, will income investors step up?
  • SodaStream (NASDAQ:SODA) posted another quarter of blowout results. Revenue soared 49% for the maker of the popular home-based soda maker. Analysts were banking on just a 33% pop. SodaStream's adjusted earnings also blew Wall Street targets out of the water. It may be safe to stop calling this product a fad.
  • Vringo (NYSEMKT: VRNG) finally got its patents to pay off. It wasn't awarded all that it was seeking, but even a small amount against dot-com titans is notable.
  • Zipcar (NASDAQ:ZIP.DL2) is taking control of the wheel. The car-sharing service pulled up with strong quarterly results, fueled by an 18% uptick in members. There's something neat about earning 10 times what analysts were forecasting, but that can happen when Wall Street's holding out for only a $0.01 a share in profitability.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.