Wall Street: Former Apple Exec Could Save JC Penney
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By Gus Lubin and
KIM BHASIN,
Business Insider
September 14, 2011

Can Ron Johnson transform JC Penney into the next Apple?

A note out this morning from Goldman Sachs asks this questions and answers maybe. The bank expects a strong performance by Johnson, a former Apple Retail SVP and Target exec, to offset a crappy retail environment over the next year.

Goldman says of the incoming CEO: "[His hire] has sparked hope that his impressive resume could reverse JC Penney’s flagging share and productivity... Johnson’s resume and potential plan – his tenures at both Target and Apple met with great success – these are two well-run and strongly branded companies that capitalized on secular growth tailwinds." So what exactly did Johnson accomplish as SVP of retail at Apple and VP of merchandising at Target?

Masterminded the Apple Retail Store concept, despite Steve Jobs being initially against it. Designed that now-familiar airy look in the Apple Store, going against the age-old mantra of putting as much merchandise as possible in front of the customer. Came up with the Genius Bar, the in-store tech support that has become such a huge hit with Apple customers. Transformed Target's stores, bringing the upscale 'cool' factor to the retailer, which was a new concept at the time for big discounters. Launched exclusive designer lines there, which were a huge hit -- the biggest being the Michael Graves line.