Ron Johnson did wonders at Apple, crafting a shopping experience like no other and that the competition would do well to ape (although not quite that closely, Samsung). But in his CEO role at J.C. Penney, things aren’t going well. His cunning plan of stopping race-to-the-bottom discounting, in favour of quality and honesty has made customers leave in droves.
Meanwhile, over at Apple, new retail VP John Browett has pissed off a whole bunch of people—not least staff—by attempting to make the already hugely profitable stores more profitable. His cunning plan: get rid of staff and essentially make Apple Stores more like any other mass-market retailer. To be fair to Browett, that’s what he knows—he used to fly high at Dixons and Tesco, neither of which is renowned for being a great experience, but Tesco at least is insanely profitable.
While it won’t happen, it strikes me everyone would be a lot happier (and two well-known retailing experiences wouldn’t be derailed) if these guys just swapped places.