Plano, TX—Ron Johnson, JCPenney’s ceo, is once again tapping into the Apple talent pool where he once served as head of the tech giant’s retail division. On Friday, the department store announced that Laurie Beja Miller, 54, will be named executive vice president of The Square, a new concept that is one of the centerpieces of JCPenney’s new strategy.
“In the golden age of department stores, America’s families came for more than just to shop,” Johnson said. “They were able to have fun experiences and were offered a range of useful services. We are going to revive that excitement and convenience at JCPenney, and Laurie is the ideal person to lead the charge. She brings an exceptional track record of creating differentiated shopping environments, unique insight into customer behavior, and a passion about retail that will all be invaluable as we execute our concept for JCPenney stores.”
To Develop ‘Genius Bar’-Like Concept?
Miller brings more than two decades of experience at leading retailers and brands, including Nike, Apple and Disney.
Prior to serving as senior vice president and general manager Americas at Bare Escentuals, which she joined in 2010, Miller spent three years at Nike as general manager, vice president Nike Retail U.S. She was previously vice president, product development and merchandising at Hallmark Cards, a role she took after serving as vice president, special projects at Apple, senior vice president and general merchandise manager at Pottery Barn, and executive vice president at Disney Stores, focused on product development. She also spent more than a decade (1984 to 1995) at Spiegel, where she was general manager of electronic media.
In addition to launching its new “everyday low price” strategy and throwing out discount promotions, Johnson said in January that come this August JCPenney stores will be redesigned to include 80 to 100 so-called brand shops, or shop with shop concepts, to be located along a new “Main Street.” And borrowing from Apple, which is known for its “Genius Bar,” JCPenney will create a “Town Square” for special services and other information.
“The chance to join JCPenney as it undertakes this total transformation is the most exciting opportunity at this point in my career,” Miller said. “The vision that the company has for JCPenney will make it unlike any other store that exists in retail today and create enormous excitement for customers.”
Miller, who will begin April 1, will report directly to Johnson.
Besides Miller, Johnson has also hired Apple alumni Michael Kramer as chief operating officer, Daniel Walker as chief talent officer and Kristen Blum as chief technology officer.