“I think (for) the new (Obama) administration, it is job one for them to try to understand how to get the consumer back in the game," he said.
Profits at JC Penney stores were down 53 percent in the third quarter, and same-store sales were down 13 percent in October.
Overall U.S. retail sales went down almost 3 percent from September to October, far worse than most industry watchers expected.
Ullman said consumer sentiment has overtaken financial instability as the chief threat to the nation's economy, but it is not getting much attention from Capitol Hill or the U.S. Treasury Department.
He said Congress and the White House should shift gears and do something more drastic to stimulate consumer spending, or things will get much worse.