Apple's retail store head to depart for J.C. Penney

The head of Apple's highly successful retail store operation is jumping ship to become the new CEO of J.C. Penney. Marketwatch reports that Ron Johnson, the senior vice-president of Apple's retail division, will become the new head of J.C. Penney in November. Johnson has been the head of Apple's retail store division since the company launched its first stores just over 10 years ago. He came to Apple in 2000 and helped to lead the retail store operation as it opened over 300 locations worldwide so far.

Apple's retail stores were not given much of a chance to succeed at first but the stores were consumer friendly, allowing customers to try out Apple's products setting up the "Genius Bar" for help with its products and more. The designs of the Apple Stores (slick steel and glass and warn open spaces) also was a trademark that made the stores stand out from the crowd.

Johnson's departure from Apple is one of few major executives that the company has lost in the past several years. In a chat with the New York Times, he said, "Apple has taught me, really, what breakthrough innovation is and how to energize teams to accomplish that. I’ve seen that happen on the product side at Apple; we’ve done that in our stores. I think that’s what I bring." He has not announced what plans he has for J.C. Penney.

AppleInsider reports that Apple is already looking for a replacement for Johnson. The story also states that Johnson has earned $400 million over the past seven years with sales of his Apple shares and options.

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I wish department stores were actually fun to visit again. Back in the old days, a department store was 'the Walmart' of it's heyday. They had nearly everything for the home, store displays were usually great, sales staff actually gave great service, and the merchandise was actually good.

Nowadays, the modern department store is pretty much the opposite. Now it's most clothes, jewelery, higher-end make-up, and maybe furniture and some other appliances (though Sears still does hardware and electronics at least too). Displays are mediocre, some places look like they've seen better days, shelves are plastered with "sale" signs, and the staff is not as friendly.

Even then, most people I know or see at the mall hit the specialty clothing/accessories stores, or go elsewhere for their needs. It's going to take a lot more to bring people back.

I personally hate going to department stores primarily because:
* Staff sucks (as already mentioned)
* They have a little of everything but never what I want
* Prices aren't competitive
* I HATE walking through the floor maze where it takes 35 turns to get from one end of the store to the other

Quikboy said,
I wish department stores were actually fun to visit again. Back in the old days, a department store was 'the Walmart' of it's heyday. They had nearly everything for the home, store displays were usually great, sales staff actually gave great service, and the merchandise was actually good.

I just miss having a choice and a variety of places to shop instead of nothing but Wal-Marts that are exact clones of each other, and all of them selling cheap junk made in China. We used to have TG&Y, Murphy's Mart, Hills, Maloney's, Hecks, etc. Now they're all gone. K-Mart is still around but it's a shadow of it's former self.

I think the Apple Stores have been a huge part of Apple marketing. Just walk by one and look at how many people are in there just looking - it's not a place most people dread going to. I don't think Apple's marketing has caused them to be a success, but rather the stores have been as integral a part to their marketing strategy as any other sort of advertising.

Shiranui said,

Trust me, that is all I have ever done......

People even don't walk by Microsoft stores, they just move to the other side of the street where there is ALWAYS an Apple store.

Simon said,
I think the Apple Stores have been a huge part of Apple marketing. Just walk by one and look at how many people are in there just looking - it's not a place most people dread going to. I don't think Apple's marketing has caused them to be a success, but rather the stores have been as integral a part to their marketing strategy as any other sort of advertising.

I've been to the Microsoft and Apple (walked by, looked inside for a sec) stores here in Arizona. Both seemed to have the same amount of people. Think lots of people are just attracted to the gadgets and being able to fool around with them. Like going to the arcade (FREE) at the MS store. Several XBOXs setup on big screens and games available to play/demo. I was in there for a few fooling with some games...haha

techbeck said,

I've been to the Microsoft and Apple (walked by, looked inside for a sec) stores here in Arizona. Both seemed to have the same amount of people. Think lots of people are just attracted to the gadgets and being able to fool around with them. Like going to the arcade (FREE) at the MS store. Several XBOXs setup on big screens and games available to play/demo. I was in there for a few fooling with some games...haha

I didn't say Microsoft stores weren't doing the same thing, although I haven't actually experienced them. My point is just that people were brushing off the Apple stores as a byproduct of successful marketing, when really it is as much a part of their marketing as anything else.

The "genius" at my Apple store wasn't very good at providing support on a Mac Pro video card problem that was a widely known issue. Instead, they denied there was a problem and wanted to sell me the same video card (at the time, over 3 years old) for $400.

Overrated... Apples Store Worked, not because in and of itself, but because Apple Marketing Works. Best Buy has a 'Genius bar', bunch of broken devices.