JC Penney Apologizes For Former Apple Retail Chief Ron Johnson’s $12.99 Billion Blunder

JC Penney Apologizes For Former Apple Retail Chief Ron Johnson’s $12.99 Billion Blunder

Former Apple Retail Chief Ron Johnson’s time at JC Penney was not a good one for the company. Johnson tried to revamp the retailer’s image from a clearing house for cheap junk sold at discounted prices during an endless spree of “sales” and “coupons” into a refined boutique, a store-within-a-store retail concept similar to the Apple Store.

The result? A $12.99 billion year-over-year decline in revenue that got Johnson fired as CEO after his first year on the job. And if that’s not bad enough, JC Penney is now adding insult to injury by releasing a commercial apologizing for the changes he made.

The new spot was posted to JC Penney’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Here’s the voice over:

It’s no secret, recently J.C. Penney changed. Some changes you liked and some you didn’t, but what matters with mistakes is what we learn. We learned a very simple thing: to listen to you, to hear what you need, to make your life more beautiful. Come back to J.C. Penney. We heard you.

According to JC Penney, the spot was actually approved during Ron Johnson’s watch.

Ironically, while mistakes were made during Ron Johnson’s JC Penney transformation, his core strategy was very sound. He had a deep, abiding respect for JC Penney’s brand and its customers; his biggest mistake was ripping out the old crappy JC Penney before he could fully replace it with the new, shinier one.

  • TekRevue

    J.C. Penney’s revenue declined TO $12.99 billion, not a decline OF $12.99 billion :)

  • Jonathan Ober

    Admitting a mistake is huge in the corporate world. Glad they could own up to it.

  • TechBell

    JC Penny was such a compelling retail experience before Johnson. Now, it’s just another half-assed-killed-in-its-infancy-retail experiment. Then again, what do you expect from a company headquartered in Plano, Texas?

  • Ken Segall

    Totally untrue that this ad was created under Ron Johnson. It was created by agency Y&R, which only got the business after Ron left.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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