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J.C. Penney Taps Another Apple Alumni For Its Revitalization

By Karen Talley Of Dow Jones Newswires NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) has tapped another Apple Inc. (AAPL) veteran to help in its turnaround. Laurie Beja Miller was named executive vice president of The Square, the town square centers the retailer plans to install in stores. The town squares are part of the vision of Chief Executive Ron Johnson, who ran Apple's retail stores, to reinvent Penney as a preferred shopping destination. "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." Johnson did not provide further details about the town squares. Miller, 54, has served as vice president of special projects at Apple, and held senior positions with Bare Escentuals Inc., Hallmark and Williams-Sonoma Inc.'s Pottery Barn unit. Other Apple alumni that J.C. Penney has brought in include Chief Operating Officer Michael Kramer, Chief Talent Officer Daniel Walker and Chief Technology Officer Kristen Blum. J.C. Penney is undergoing a huge restructuring in which it aims to steer customers away from department stores' traditionally sales-oriented approach to one where merchandise is not sold with an array of promotions. Last month, Penney reported it swung to a loss in its fiscal fourth quarter, as it shouldered heavy costs tied to its revamped pricing strategy, which will take a number of years to fully roll out. J.C. Penney shares were unchanged at $39.01 in recent trading Friday. -By Karen Talley, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2196;

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