Former Apple Retail Head Ron Johnson Fired as CEO of JC Penney

Terrin

macrumors 6502
Apr 5, 2011
428
1
Can't say I'm surprised here, nor should anyone be. JCP is a wreck right now, and frankly it's his doing.
How so? It was in a mess when he got there, which is why they fired the last CEO. I wouldn't have shopped in Pennies before Ron took over, but would now. I was in there yesterday, and he has made some nice improvements ranging from quality of the merchandise to the over all presentation.

It was a tough problem to solve because largely older people were shopping there, and the customer base was declining. The Store needed needed a younger customer base. He was trying to appeal to a younger crowd, but in making changes he alienated the older folks before a new customer base could be grown. Same thing happened to Bill Knapps.

I think firing Ron was largely to appease stock holders, but the trouble is now the new person is going to feel pressure to make changes from Ron's plan, and more customers are going to be alienated.

I really liked Ron's store with in a store concepts, better brands, and rebranding.
 

you people smh

macrumors regular
Oct 20, 2011
151
0
Well I wasn't expecting that. How could the man who did such great things for apple retail do so badly at jcp that he's out not long after he started? :eek:
Because the whole "apple store is great and drives sales" line is complete BS. People buy the products that are sold. Turns out there is more of a market for hip status symbol technology than there is for discount brand jeans.
 

3282868

macrumors 603
Jan 8, 2009
5,245
0
I was surprised that Johnson left for JCP, but was hopeful he would turn around the company's image and products. I liked the hiring of Ellen Degeneres and some of their advertisements, however as I never shopped at JCP I didn't follow the company's stock/growth. Suppose some commentators are right, Johnson wasn't a good fit due to JCP's myriad of markets as compared to Apple's market.
 

harperska

macrumors newbie
Apr 28, 2004
18
0
I was really hoping he could pull it off. He had some good ideas for how to differentiate JCP from Kohl's, and like others said, he probably could have pulled it off with more time and money. I really did like the direction the stores were going, and was looking forward for the transition to be complete. I was very impressed with the customer service at my local store. Plus, the ads with Ellen were hilarious.

I am just afraid that if whoever replaces Johnson does a reversal on his vision, it will spell doom for the company. They don't do coupon marketing as well as Kohl's, so they needed something to differentiate themselves. If they go back to the way they were before, they will simply go the way of Mervyn's.
 

animatedude

macrumors 65816
Feb 27, 2010
1,074
59
why would anyone leave such a great company like Apple for a rubbish company like JCPenny even if it's a CEO position? ah i guess this is life...

----------

i wouldn't be surprised if Samsung offered him a position or maybe google..
 

alent1234

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
5,654
122
I was really hoping he could pull it off. He had some good ideas for how to differentiate JCP from Kohl's, and like others said, he probably could have pulled it off with more time and money. I really did like the direction the stores were going, and was looking forward for the transition to be complete. I was very impressed with the customer service at my local store. Plus, the ads with Ellen were hilarious.

I am just afraid that if whoever replaces Johnson does a reversal on his vision, it will spell doom for the company. They don't do coupon marketing as well as Kohl's, so they needed something to differentiate themselves. If they go back to the way they were before, they will simply go the way of Mervyn's.
apple stores are cool because of the products

JC Penny and the 20 other mid market retailers out there all sell the same thing.
 

dazed

macrumors 6502a
Jun 23, 2007
883
138
Was pulling for Johnson at jcp. Went and bought $1000 in clothes there
Lol. Had to read this twice. First time I thought you said "I was pulling my Johnson at jcp"

Spending a 1000? That's hardcore dedication.
 

Mike Valmike

macrumors 6502a
Feb 27, 2012
549
0
Chandler, Arizona
Can't say I'm surprised here, nor should anyone be. JCP is a wreck right now, and frankly it's his doing.
Kind of. Amazon, Costco, and Walmart dealt the killing blow to JCP. RJ's challenge was to change the game before the corpse hit the floor, and he couldn't do so. I give him full credit for moving forward with *a* gamble, but *this* particular gamble seemed ill-advised... gee let's take a discount chain with decades of carefully inculcated appeal to scrappers and coupon moms, and completely obliterate price granularity while bolting on the ultramodernist pastiche of Apple Stores! That's BOUND to work!
 

RenoG

macrumors 65816
Oct 7, 2010
1,268
51
The difference is that Target is upscale compared to its competition (Wal-Mart). JC Penney is not considered upscale compared even to a mainstream retailer like Macy's. Its customer base is more like Kohl's, and it is seen on a similar level. It's hard to wean people off coupons. I'd imagine that Kohl's would see the same results if they attempted to apply the same strategy.
This is true, Target customers (you actually see celeberties buying toilet paper and soap in various LA Target stores) are apple customers so it worked for him, however apple customers are NOT JCP customers so he was heading up a pretty steep hill with his mission..I'm not surprised by this..
 

japasneezemonk

macrumors 6502
Jun 13, 2005
414
0
Nomad
I just went into JCP a few weeks ago to buy some LEVI 505 (btw, the new 505 fit is great, they fit like APC New Standard, however, the LEVI quality is mediocre). Anyway, the store is still crappy looking. Many things seem outdated. There's no emphasis on unique items that a shopper might be interested in. Ex: Target has exclusive pieces by Masion Margiela or collaborations with ODIN New York, obviously at very reduced prices.
I did read they were collaborating with Nick Wooster of Bergdorf Goodman fame, but who knows how that will work out now. Anyway, after shopping there, I came out with the impression that JCP might need to dress their employees, hire a tailor, and launder their clothes. One of the guys working in the Athletic department looked like he had just rolled out of bed. The girl working in the suit department was dressed in blue jeans, a faded old looking pique polo, and some chunky white sketchers.
So many problems with JCP that changing it would require a miracle, just ask Sears or even Macys, both of these stores also seem unwilling to change.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
20,646
22,284
Too much all at once. Should have worked on revamping the stores, then on pricing. It's hard to ditch the sales and coupons when the merchandise is the same old crap.
 

jmgregory1

macrumors 68000
I would hope he structured his leave at the point when he signed on to take the job. He couldn't have been naive to the point of not thinking he might just have a few too many insurmountable challenges ahead of him, could he?

As others have noted, he would have needed the support and funding of the board for a good 3-5 years to force the kind of change he wanted (and apparently the board sort-of wanted).

Decades of bad behavior and poor choices cannot be turned around in 12-18 months - and that's bad behavior and poor choices made by both the JCP employees and the shoppers who shop there.

I say let them fail completely - then let's have an honest conversation about whether RJ was making good decisions or not.
 

Glideslope

macrumors 603
Dec 7, 2007
6,123
3,144
A quiet place in NY.
why would anyone leave such a great company like Apple for a rubbish company like JCPenny even if it's a CEO position? ah i guess this is life...

----------

i wouldn't be surprised if Samsung offered him a position or maybe google..
Ron simply could not move JC Penney in a direction from being the Microsoft of Retail. I personally was ok with his plan. He simply could not draw in the cliental. He could not make people "switch," so to speak.

JC Penny is where my Mom used to shop. I doubt she will ever go back now, even with Ron's dismissal. KOHLS is the big winner in this unfortunate event.

Just reaffirms that even with a perfectly groomed path, you can lead a person to JC Penney, but you can't make them drink the Kool Aid. :apple:
 

MultiMediaWill

macrumors 68000
Aug 1, 2010
1,613
302
Minneapolis
For the poor? Seriously? Wow.

The joke is that you actually consider Macy's to be as good as it gets, so I'm not going to argue with you.
Where in my post did I ever say "Macy's is as good as it gets". Obviously there are even better options than Macy's but JC Penney's is just bad. The only thing they are good for is Levi's jeans.

EDIT: Even the JCP Models don't know common fashion. Who on earth wears a undershirt with a polo???? The only time you should ever wear an undershirt is if it can not be seen. So ugly.

 
Last edited:

WoodNUFC

macrumors 6502a
Apr 30, 2009
618
36
A Library
This is disappointing. My wife and I've been trying to shop at JCP more, because of the new direction that Johnson had the company moving. I appreciated that clothes were consistently priced, instead of being marked down nearly 50% ever other Saturday morning between 8 and 1. That was always so annoying!

I feel like this was a rather myopic move by JC Penney's board. I understand that numbers are down currently, but if they don't expand their customer base they will cease to exist. Johnson's changes are what brought me back to the store, but if they go back to the old sales tactics I'll go elsewhere.
 

John.B

macrumors 601
Jan 15, 2008
4,096
617
Holocene Epoch
To be fair though, he ran Penney's like it was Apple, that is to say it would probably have done very well if it catered to the same crowd as Neiman Marcus.
This.

The typical JP Penney shopper wants to think they are getting a deal, and moving to an "everyday low price" model took that away from them. Worse still, many people price matched at other stores based on the JCP price.

The only thing that surprised me is that it took so long to fire him following quarter after quarter of poor results.