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January 30, 2013

Ron Johnson Acknowledges J.C. Penny Isn’t Apple

by Austintatiously

Ron Johnson Acknowledges J.C. Penny Isn’t Apple

We talked about J.C. Penny very early in the semester and some of the concepts they are testing with their redesign, but the core mission of their turnaround is making J.C. Penny a true customer experience in retail. Despite his vaulted reputation coming out of Apple, Ron Johnson, now CEO of J.C. Penny, admits the obvious: “Instead of hawking cool, high-margin tech products for the hipster fan base of Apple, Johnson has to deal with busy moms, screaming kids, and the the broad swath of humanity that just wants a cheap pair of pants.” J.C. Penny’s brand became synonymous with a bland shopping experience with generic merchandise- not the best competitive position to stake out with fierce structural competition coming from online retailers. With the low-end of the market staked out by players like Dollar-Tree and Wal-Mart, Ron Johnson’s next act is to try and replicate the kind of design and integrated customer experience that made his previously employer a consumer products icon. Whether J.C. Penny ascends to new heights or goes down in flames like a pair of these jeans remains to be seen. 

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