J.C. Penney chief executive outlines company's plan to reinvigorate brand J.C. Penney's new chief executive, Ron Johnson, has a history of orchestrating successful retail campaigns. In his quest to reinvigorate the department store, he plans to unleash all of them.

Johnson arrived at J.C. Penney from Apple, where he oversaw the technology giant's wildly successful retail operations. Though making the jump away from technology and toward apparel may seem like a stretch, the same basic underlying principles apply. In his new role at J.C. Penney, Johnson plans to improve the company's operating margins and performance through cost reduction campaigns, among other initiatives.

At a meeting on Wednesday, Johnson told attendees that he aims to make J.C. Penney a shopping destination for just about every kind of U.S. consumer.

"We want to be the favorite store for everyone, for all Americans rich and poor, young and old. This isn't your favorite department store. Our ambitions are much higher. We want to be your favorite store."

He has his work cut out for him.

J.C. Penney's performance has lagged behind its peers over the past few years, as the mid-tier retailer has competed in a bifurcated market. Sales at its stores open at least one year fell 2 percent in November 2011, while its December same-store sales figures were hardly better, climbing only 0.3 percent.

Johnson's first order of business is to develop a new pricing model at the company, The New York Times reports. The retailer will replace its old scheme with a three-tiered system comprised of regular prices, month-long specials and clearance sales. The switch will help drive the company's profit higher because nearly three-fourths of total revenue currently comes from items sold at a discount of 50 percent or more, according to Johnson.

Many retail chains have had to aggressively reduce prices in an effort to lure cash-strapped customers, but Johnson said J.C. Penney simply ran too many ineffective campaigns last year. He plans to reduce the chain's total number of yearly sales events from an average of more than 1 and a half per day to only 12. Implementing such a sales structure will further help achieve cost reduction quotas, positioning the company for a comeback.

"So customers ignored us 99 percent of the time," Johnson said of the high number of unique sales events. "At some point, you, as a brand, look desperate if you have to market that much."

Johnson said he did not plan to close any of the company's more than 1,100 U.S. stores – at least initially.

"Why would we go close stores when we haven't gotten the whole concept right yet?" he said. "It doesn't really make sense."

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  1. really? a store for everyone? why didn't i think of that before?