Last week, department store JC Penney announced that it had poached the man who built Apple's retail stores into a global cash machine, Ron Johnson, to become its new CEO.
JC Penney's stock soared on the news. Apple, meanwhile, announced that it would begin looking for another retailing guru post-haste.
So will Johnson bring Apple's magic to JC Penney? And will Apple itself go down the tubes now that it has lost the genius who helped make its stores so popular?
The answer to the first question is a resounding "no," says retailing expert Howard Davidowitz of Davidowitz & Associates.
The reason Apple's stores have been successful, Davidowitz says, is that Apple makes wonderful, unique products that everyone wants. The stores themselves are beautiful, but the reason they sell so much merchandise is that everyone wants the merchandise.
JC Penney, meanwhile, is a mid-size department store selling the same stuff that everyone else sells. Ron Johnson will not be able to bring Apple's magic to JC Penney, Davidowitz says, because JC Penney's products are not unique and the company is in a tough place in the market--it's neither a superstore like Walmart nor a specialty chain like Home Depot.
And how about Apple?
Apple will be fine without Johnson, Davidowitz says. The company's retailing formula is now well-established, and the products sell themselves.