J.C Penney's stock tumbles

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By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — J.C. Penney's shares are tumbling a day after the department store chain announced the sudden departure of Michael Francis, a top Target executive brought in last October to help redefine the store's brand.

In a terse statement issued late Monday, Penney gave no reason for the abrupt departure of Francis, who was its president. In that post, Francis was responsible for the marketing of a controversial new pricing plan that aims to get rid of hundreds of sales events. He also oversaw merchandising and product development.

The move comes as Penney is trying to reverse a sharp drop in traffic and plummeting sales after its new pricing strategy spearheaded by new CEO Ron Johnson confused shoppers.

Shares are down $2.46, or 10.1 percent, to $21.87 in midday trading Tuesday.

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