JC Penney (Fortune 500) investors were optimistic in 2011 with the CEO appointment of , Apple (Fortune 500) veteran Ron Johnson, famous for his work on the tremendously successful Apple Store and its Genius Bar. Johnson orchestrated a dramatic change of course for the retailer this year. ,
The company is rebranding as "JCP," a hipper version of its 110-year-old self. It's moving toward having in-store boutiques for different brands, and -- crucially -- trying to wean its customers off sales and coupons.
So far, it's been a hard sell. JCP's "everyday low prices" concept is foreign to many department store loyalists accustomed to discounts. The company posted a $203 million loss for the third quarter, and customer traffic dipped 12%.
Johnson has stressed that things will get worse before they get better. "If you had looked at the data on the Genius Bar after a year and a half, we should have taken it out of the store," Johnson told Fortune in March. "But it was something I believed in with every bone in my body." He was right then. It's hard to say if he's right now, too.
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