JC Penney Revived: Five Lessons In Corporate Failure [SLIDE SHOW]

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  • Radio Shack Executives
    When the consumer electronics market began slipping out of Radio Shack's hands like a greased toad, the company switched to a totally new, ultra-hip name. Radical dude, until you consider their choice: "The Shack." Most people know where to fill their consumer electronics needs. Best Buy. Lesson: Skip naming yourself after a stoner's bungalow and increase store sizes and inventory. REUTERS
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    McDonald's got tired of its reputation as a low-grade food alternative, and decided in 1996 to introduce, "Arch Deluxe." The thinking was flawless, because who could argue against gourmet fast food burgers at a bargain? The stab at the more sophisticated end of the fast food market failed spectacularly, felled by the incredibly low-brow and high-flavored McRib. Lesson: You are what you are. Reuters
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JC Penney made its first big splash on Wednesday in what will be a three-year effort to rebrand the 110-year-old department store chain with some distinctly 21st century initiatives.

Chief Executive Ron Johnson has said his ultimate goal is to make JC Penney America's favorite store. His initiatives include a new pricing structure, replacing cent figures with double zeros on all price tags and turning the store into a destination via a Town Square.

But makeovers can pay a hefty toll in the business world, and the past is strewn with good ideas gone sour. A change in direction does not always lead to success. Fortunately, some companies have the wherewithal to drop a bad idea soon enough to survive. Here are some corporate excursions gone horribly wrong.

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