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J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (JCP)’s Best Apple Inc. (AAPL) Impersonation

J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP)Trying to be like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) didn’t work out so well for J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP). Poaching the Mac maker’s retail chief Ron Johnson as CEO led to nothing but pain as he attempted to turn around the department store’s fortunes with Apple-esque strategies.

Johnson pursued a more transparent pricing strategy, moving away from artificially inflated prices that were used to make sales and discounts more appealing. That psychological tactic conveys the sense to shoppers that they’re getting more value when they buy items on sale.

He also didn’t test new ideas, which worked at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), but didn’t translate into similar success at J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP). Johnson tried to roll out stores-within-stores for fashionable brands, while also wanting to make J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP)’s stores a place to hang out.

People actually do just hang out at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stores, whether they’re waiting for a Genius Bar appointment, dancing spastically all over the store and posting videos of the activity on YouTube, getting pizzas delivered, or bringing a goat inside. These antics probably wouldn’t fly at J.C. Penney.

Well, J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) knows it screwed up, and it screwed up badly. Now it wants to say it’s sorry.

In a new ad, the department store “fesses up” to its mistakes, saying that “it’s no secret” that it has been making some dramatic changes lately. Clearly, those moves didn’t resonate with the company’s core customer base, but it’s wising up and listening to the messages that consumers are sending by closing their wallets. J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) is imploring customers to come back to give it a shot at redemption.

If artificially inflated prices are what consumers want, then artificially inflated prices are what consumers will get.

The new ad campaign was actually being developed well before Johnson’s departure, as even Johnson was keenly aware of his missteps. It just so happens that he was ousted shortly before it aired.

If J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) really wants customers to come back in, maybe they should allow people to bring their goats.

The article J.C. Penney Says Sorry for Trying to Be Like Apple originally appeared on and is written by Evan Niu, CFA.

Fool contributor Evan Niu, CFA, owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple.

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