AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Byline: DAVID MOIN
Penney's CEO Johnson Aims for Revolution
Ron Johnson is out to rewrite the retail rule book.
And if that's not bold enough, the chief executive officer of J.C. Penney Co. Inc. has an equally ambitious vision for the retailer: "We don't want to be America's favorite department store; we want to be America's favorite store."
In his first public presentation since taking over as ceo last November, Johnson raised the curtain on how he would get there as he spoke from a specially constructed set at Pier 57 here Wednesday. In a flashy, theatrical presentation worthy of any Apple product introduction, Johnson gave his play book before a crowded gathering of about 700 people that included a smattering of fashion celebrities such as J. Crew's Millard "Mickey" Drexler, Mervyn's founder Mervin Morris, Michael Graves, Cindy Crawford, Steve Roth of Vornado Realty, Martha Stewart and even Calvin Klein who were all curious about Johnson's plans.
His vision touches everything of concern to consumers, suppliers and investors, from the products and the store environment to pricing. If he implements them all, it could have major implications for retailing in terms of promotions, customer service and store design.
Among the dramatic changes planned:
Penney's will chuck its promotionally frenzied, high-low pricing approach in favor of a less confusing, three-tiered strategy that launches Feb. 1.
The selling floor will convert from the current open sea of racks to 100 individual shop concepts for private and national brands including Izod, Arizona and Liz Claiborne. Shops will be phased in at a rate of two or three a month for the next 3 1/2 years until the whole store is overhauled. Thirty shops are currently under development.
Getting rid of antiquated merchandise designations. "What is a missy? What's a …