Can Apple Retail Executive Lead J.C. Penney?

The NY Times reports: J.C. Penney has poached the head of Apple’s retail stores to head its company starting in November, making investors hope that a man who rethought how to sell computers can also rethink how to sell clothes, cosmetics and accessories. The Apple executive, Ron Johnson, will replace Myron E. Ullman III as Penney’s chief executive on Nov. 1, the retailer announced. Mr. Ullman will then take a role as executive chairman.
“In the U.S., the department store has a chance to regain its status as the leader in style, the leader in excitement,” Mr. Johnson, 52, said in an interview. “I saw a very shared vision amongst the board to really take this great American brand and make it become something unbelievably exciting.” He added, “It will be a period of true innovation for this company.”

PM: It will be interesting to watch whether Johnson can port his computer retailing skills to an apparel setting. He may but he may not if key factors for winning are sufficiently different.

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