He talked a bit about what surprised him since leaving his gig at Apple to take the helm of the embattled retailer.
From WWD's David Moin (emphasis ours):
His single biggest surprise, he acknowledged, was how customers responded to Penney’s new “fair and square” pricing scheme. It wasn’t good. “Learning how the customer responds to our new vision, getting them to appreciate and embrace it, and bringing them along for the ride,” Johnson said, “has been a bigger challenge than I anticipated.”
He was also surprised to learn that just offering a great price wasn’t enough. “You have got to have more support than that. It’s how you provide a value that the customer will understand.”
The "fair and square" pricing strategy, which aimed to wean customers off of coupons, was o ne of Johnson's big changes in his attempt to turn JCPenney around.
"Coupons were a drug," Johnson said last year. "They really drove traffic."
Customers wanted their coupons back and the marketing didn't resonate.
Johnson later admitted he was wrong and switched things up, bringing back the word "sale."
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