JCPenney ad apologizes for changes made by former CEO Ron Johnson

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A TV ad released this week by JCPenney asks customers to "come back" to the department store, alluding to heavy losses suffered from sweeping changes made by ousted CEO and former Apple executive Ron Johnson.





The 30-second spot, posted to the company's Facebook and YouTube pages, atones for the recent changes believed to be the reason for a steep decline in sales, which resulted in a $12.99 billion year-over-year decline in revenue for fiscal 2012.

During his tenure at JCPenney, Johnson, who was the driving force behind Apple's hugely successful brick-and-mortar Apple Store retail chain, made a number of substantial tweaks to the department store's business model. The initiatives, such as bans on sale pricing and the promotion of trendy products in "stores-within-a-store," fell flat.

Under Johnson's one year with JCPenney, sales fell 25 percent and the company posting a net loss of $985 million. As a result, he was fired in April, with Mike Ullman, who Johnson replaced in 2011, called back to his post as chief executive.

Voice over from the commercial:
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.
While short ad appears to lambast Johnson's decisions post facto, according to Bloomberg, the commercial was made under his watch. The publication cites JCPenney spokesman Joey Thomas as saying development of the commercial began a few months ago as a result of poor customer feedback.

With Apple in need of a senior vice president of retail, speculation has abounded regarding Johnson's possible return to the Cupertino company. For now, retail operations will continue to be directly managed by CEO Tim Cook with help from Apple's vice president of finance Jim Bean.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 91
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,470member
    "Sorry we tried to treat our customers as if they had brains. We are now going back to fooling you with raised prices and discount coupons. We will be starting bingo soon too."

    p.s. Tim, bring Ron home.
  • Reply 2 of 91
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

    Sorry we tried to treat our customers as if they had brains. We are now going back to fooling you with raised prices and discounts coupons.


     


    I came here to say exactly the same thing.

  • Reply 3 of 91
    scotty321scotty321 Posts: 313member
    The only mistake that Ron Johnson made, as pointed out by Ken Segall, was that he eliminated coupons & sales before the stores were remodeled. So from the cheap-a** customer's point of view, nothing had yet changed at JC Penney's except for the elimination of their beloved coupons & sales. Ron should have remodeled all the stores into world-class experiences first, then eliminated coupons & sales afterwards. However, this still doesn't forgive the fact that all the customers of JC Penney are extremely dumb and stupid.
  • Reply 4 of 91
    ronstarkronstark Posts: 81member
    Johnson made too many changes too fast. The expectations of his wizardry were too high. He needed two or three years to make it work. Soft goods don't sell like computers......Especially in a slow economy!
    Too bad. I knew it wouldn't work
  • Reply 5 of 91
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,470member
    I came here to say exactly the same thing.

    Hey wait till I correct my Gin & Tonic screwed up English will ya! LOL
  • Reply 6 of 91
    scotty321scotty321 Posts: 313member
    p.s. What a terrible ad. That company is so horribly messed up. Ron Johnson could've saved them, but they didn't give him enough time.
  • Reply 7 of 91
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,470member
    scotty321 wrote: »
    The only mistake that Ron Johnson made, as pointed out by Ken Segall, was that he eliminated coupons & sales before the stores were remodeled. So from the cheap-a** customer's point of view, nothing had yet changed at JC Penney's except for the elimination of their beloved coupons & sales. Ron should have remodeled all the stores into world-class experiences first, then eliminated coupons & sales afterwards. However, this still doesn't forgive the fact that all the customers of JC Penney are extremely dumb and stupid.

    In JCP's defense, their store is very useful for us here in Sarasota, FL as we can park outside it easily as their area is usually empty and cut through to the rest of the Mall. :D
  • Reply 8 of 91
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,985member
    "Sorry we tried to treat our customers as if they had brains. We are now going back to fooling you with raised prices and discount coupons. We will be starting bingo soon too."

    p.s. Tim, bring Ron home.

    Some people just don't like change, especially a drastic one. The successful invention of one thing does not mean it'll lead to a successful reinvention of another.
  • Reply 9 of 91
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,470member
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    Some people just don't like change, especially a drastic one. The successful invention of one thing does not mean it'll lead to a successful reinvention of another.

    I don't disagree. As others have said they didn't give it enough time IMHO. But ... after all is said and done Ron should be flogged for leaving Apple then forgiven and brought back. The Apple model is not easy to duplicate for all the reasons we all know here on AI.
  • Reply 10 of 91
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,985member
    scotty321 wrote: »
    p.s. What a terrible ad. That company is so horribly messed up. Ron Johnson could've saved them, but they didn't give him enough time.

    He expedited their decline, for how much longer did you expect them to accept such a drop in sales? How many here want Tim Cook's head for running a successful company with record sales?
  • Reply 11 of 91
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,420member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

    p.s. Tim, bring Ron home.


    That would be an unmitigated disaster.


     


    The guy's career is finished. If Apple can't find anyone internally to fill the role, it's a major (HR) failure on Johnson's part (before he left Apple). 

  • Reply 12 of 91
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,420member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post



    The only mistake that Ron Johnson made....


    The only mistake?! Have you even been reading the news?

  • Reply 13 of 91
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,323member
    Ron is not CEO material. He had 2 years and cut 43k jobs and no bottom in sight. There is a reason so few Executives are CEO/Chairman material. So few have true vision and fewer yet stick to it.

    People truly don't get that Apple Executives were managed heavily by Steve. He never hesitated to tell each and everyone of these egos that they are effin' up and need to show more or hit the door.

    People bent to Steve's vision and will, not the other way around. He helped create a lot of people who then left thinking it was all them. There is a reason so few people from Apple actually go on to be huge successes in their own start ups. They never had that 1% vision to lead.

    Great talents each in their own rights, but never seem to grasp they never had `it' in the first place.

    The same goes for Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Sun, SGI, you name executives doing their own start ups.

    Technically brilliant, artistically brilliant to managerially talented but never about vision.

    Steve bounced ideas constantly off of brilliant people in a hope to get a symbiotic relationship built. He had very few of those and those he did have he had for very specific roles at Apple.

    Tim Cook leaving Apple to start his own business would ultimately be a disaster as well. Bertrand or Avi's own start ups will amount to nothing beyond getting some technology bought out.

    Ron should have stayed at Apple. He peaked at Apple.
  • Reply 14 of 91
    Announcing the new face of JCP... Sarah Palin

    Completely appropriate judging by their demographic.
  • Reply 15 of 91
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member
    JC Penny does have a clean layout, very organized. I don't know what their problem is. I was never much of a JC Penny customer to begin with, but they do have a very clean store to go into.
  • Reply 16 of 91
    starbird73starbird73 Posts: 538member
    So they brought back the CEO they fired to bring RJ in for, right?

    So jcpenny's plan is

    Failing business. Fire CEO and bring in that Apple retail guy

    Apple retail guy shakes things up. The few remaining customers we had don't like it (and we don't know if we will get new customers, because we didn't give it enough time)

    Fire that Apple guy

    Bring back old CEO

    Beg customers to come back. Saying, "don't worry! We will return to our old failing business model with our old failing ceo"

    Sounds like a plan.
  • Reply 17 of 91
    maltamalta Posts: 78member


    The Apple premium model will never work in a department store. He should have known that from the start (too much time in a RDF). The premium model works for Apple because Apple is a brand and they have high loyalty and strict control over distribution and pricing.


     


    Why would people pay $50 more for a product at JCP's store-within-a-store, when they can in 4 minutes walk to the other department store and buy the EXACT product for less?


     


    JCP is not a product like Apple. JCP sells other peoples' products.


    Apple is also very inelastic and as shown by JCP "mistake" what they sell is very very elastic.

  • Reply 18 of 91

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by starbird73 View Post



    So they brought back the CEO they fired to bring RJ in for, right?



    So jcpenny's plan is



    Failing business. Fire CEO and bring in that Apple retail guy



    Apple retail guy shakes things up. The few remaining customers we had don't like it (and we don't know if we will get new customers, because we didn't give it enough time)



    Fire that Apple guy



    Bring back old CEO



    Beg customers to come back. Saying, "don't worry! We will return to our old failing business model with our old failing ceo"



    Sounds like a plan.


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by starbird73 View Post



    So they brought back the CEO they fired to bring RJ in for, right?



    So jcpenny's plan is



    Failing business. Fire CEO and bring in that Apple retail guy



    Apple retail guy shakes things up. The few remaining customers we had don't like it (and we don't know if we will get new customers, because we didn't give it enough time)



    Fire that Apple guy



    Bring back old CEO



    Beg customers to come back. Saying, "don't worry! We will return to our old failing business model with our old failing ceo"



    Sounds like a plan.


     


     


    LOL!


     


    What's so sad is that JCP couldn't find anyone more qualified to take the job than their last, failing CEO. I guess when you are the Titanic, not many people want to work there.

  • Reply 19 of 91
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member


    So... they didn't give Johnson nearly enough time to turn the Titanic around and shift an entire brand... then booted him and put JCPenney not in the hands of someone new, but in the original hands that were sinking the ship to begin with. Then they apologize to the passengers and promise a return to their former course of doom :p


     


    Meanwhile, my only real gripe with JCPenney concerns clueless and terrible staff--and although I blame Johnson in part for not fixing that, it's certainly not the result of Johnson's plan (in fact it would seem to be the antithesis). If the staff now rapidly become more able to answer questions and do basic things (like ring up an order without making you roam for miles looking for signs of life) ...then I'll consider saying it was all Johnson's fault. And I'll still give Johnson credit for the no-games pricing that I found genuinely appealing.


     


    (Would be cool to see him back at Apple.)


     


    EDIT: Great minds think alike, AZREO!

  • Reply 20 of 91
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    Maybe this is just me though if JC Penney wants to drum up new business, start selling USA made clothes. They will not do this though it would be a nice change of pace for a department store.
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