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J.C. Penney names Kraft executive as head of marketing

The entrance of a J.C. Penney store is pictured in Arcadia, California March 1, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
The entrance of a J.C. Penney store is pictured in Arcadia, California March 1, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

(Reuters) - J.C. Penney Co Inc on Monday named a Kraft Foods Group Inc executive to head its marketing efforts, filling a job that had been vacant for 14 months while the company tries to win shoppers back to its promotions-heavy strategy.

Debra Berman was vice president, marketing strategy and engagement, at Kraft, which she joined in 2009. Previously, she was a strategic planning director at DDB Advertising.

At Penney, she will report to Chief Executive Officer Myron Ullman, who was brought back in April to steady the company after an attempt by his predecessor, Ron Johnson, to re-invent it as a trendier chain led to a 25 percent sales decline last year.

Penney has not had an executive specifically dedicated to marketing since Michael Francis left the company over disagreements about its marketing campaigns. Johnson had worked with him years earlier at Target Corp and hired him as Penney president in late 2011.

Johnson took on marketing responsibilities until he left the company in April.

Penney has been aggressively discounting merchandise to win back its traditional customers. It is expected to report a 6.7 percent decline in quarterly same-store sales when it reports results in two weeks, according to Thomson Reuters.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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