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J.C. Penney: The Worst Stock of 2013

By Mark Reeth and Taylor Muckerman – Jan 2, 2014 at 2:30PM

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J.C. Penney got crushed in 2013. Could there be a value play here, or should investors stay far away from this one?

With revenue, profitability, and margins continuing to decline for department-store retailer J.C. Penney (JCPN.Q), the stock was severely battered in 2013, down 60%. Should value investors begin perking up their ears and digging into J.C. Penney, or is this truly a moribund stock that should be given a wide berth?

In this video, Fool analyst Taylor Muckerman sits down with host Mark Reeth to discuss J.C. Penney and its woes. Taylor points to a number of identity issues the company is struggling with, including yet another CEO change, as it looks to redefine itself and find a turnaround strategy that can pull it from the fire.

Taylor also notes that if the turnaround is going to happen for J.C. Penney, it's all going to come down to margins. He points out that J.C. Penney's SG&A costs -- sales, general and administrative expenses -- are much higher as a percentage of sales than at a lot of its peers, which is holding back its bottom line in a big way. J.C. Penney will also need to increase the number of customers coming in the door.

Taylor sees the company as very cheap right now, but after the struggles J.C. Penney faced in 2013, he considers a play in J.C. Penney today to be the ultimate contrarian move.

Fool contributor Mark Reeth has no position in any stocks mentioned. Taylor Muckerman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Dillard's. We Fools may not 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.

Stocks Mentioned

J.C. Penney Stock Quote
J.C. Penney
Kohl's Stock Quote
$26.43 (-2.47%) $0.67
Nordstrom Stock Quote
$17.42 (-0.74%) $0.13
Dillards Stock Quote
$337.08 (-4.33%) $-15.24

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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