#8 JC Penney
Ticker: JCP
YTD stock performance: -48%
Market cap: $4.5 billion
Fortune 500 rank: 153

JC Penney (JCP, Fortune 500) investors were optimistic in 2011 with the CEO appointment of Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) veteran Ron Johnson, famous for his work on the tremendously successful Apple Store and its Genius Bar. Johnson orchestrated a dramatic change of course for the retailer this year.

The company is rebranding as "JCP," a hipper version of its 110-year-old self. It's moving toward having in-store boutiques for different brands, and -- crucially -- trying to wean its customers off sales and coupons.

So far, it's been a hard sell. JCP's "everyday low prices" concept is foreign to many department store loyalists accustomed to discounts. The company posted a $203 million loss for the third quarter, and customer traffic dipped 12%.

Johnson has stressed that things will get worse before they get better. "If you had looked at the data on the Genius Bar after a year and a half, we should have taken it out of the store," Johnson told Fortune in March. "But it was something I believed in with every bone in my body." He was right then. It's hard to say if he's right now, too.

Source: CNNMoney
Data as of Dec. 7 market close, provided by S&P Capital IQ
  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated December 21 2012 02:35 PM ET
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