A quick shout-out to Ron Johnson, CEO of J.C. Penny -- Your old job at Apple is open. Take it!
Truth be told, it was a brave move for Ron to take the helm of J.C. Penny. The apparel giant has seemed forever stuck in an identity crisis, caught between Macy's and Kohl's.
Johnson was looking to transform the apparel market with J.C. Penny leading the way. Unfortunately, his vision is proving to be highly misguided. Johnson, recently speaking about J.C. Penny's retail experience said "It will be just like Apple: boom, boom, boom". But boom, boom, boom, was Steve Jobs vision, not Johnson's.
Selling $20 t-shirts for summer via a cash-less register system is not the same as selling an iPhone. A t-shirt is not intimately bound to the buyer on a daily basis. A shirt might be worn 10 - 15 times in a year, amongst the piles of t-shirts in the closet. The iPhone is used 10-15 times before lunch each and every day.
Ron Johnson doesn't seem to understand how the product itself is a massive part of Apple's retail success. It is Apple's own products that pull and drive people to the Apple stores in the first place, and then a great experience is delivered, not the other way around. Perhaps Ron is figuring that out right about now...
If J.C. Penny had the power to create and sell their own brand offerings that were superior to most in the apparel market, there might be something for Johnson salvage. A winter jacket that Penny's designed in-house, with quality besting that of North Face, with great high-tech integration (assuming for iOS gear), and yet being able to deliver it at a price others would find difficult to compete with, Johnson might have a hit on his hands. But this isn't going to happen. J.C. Penny is a distribution point for other companies goods, nothing more. And in the retail apparel market 90% of the time, best price wins.
Get back to Apple Ron, and do what you do best, with a company you understand and clearly value.