The biggest turkeys of 2013

It's that time of the year when we look back and reflect on some of the worst business decisions of this annum.

The bad Penney

SLO09 jc penney

Two really smart Wall Street guys, Bill Ackman of the Pershing Square hedge fund and Steve Roth of Vornado Realty Trust, bought tons of J.C. Penney (JCP, Fortune 500) stock and got its board to hire Ron Johnson, the architect of Apple's wildly successful retail operation, to run this archetypal Main Street company. Johnson famously decided to take the whole chain upscale all at once without doing any testing. He discovered what anyone who has spent more than three seconds in a JCP store could have told him: that selling underwear to bargain hunters isn't the same as selling trendy, high-margin iWhatevers to buyers happy to pay full retail. Johnson got fired this year; Ackman and Roth took big losses. The company is now struggling to survive the turkey trio. Repeat after me: Wall Street isn't Main Street.

  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated November 21 2013 01:33 PM ET
Join the Conversation
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.