Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Guy Walks Into a Mediocre Department Store

Slate’s Matthew Yglesias tries out one of JCPenney’s new department stores:

There is no evidence that [Ron] Johnson has remade much of anything. Everything that I always find alienating and unpleasant about the basic department store experience is still there. The store is too big and too disorganized. Products are sometimes clustered by functional category and sometimes by brand, with a confusing mix of house brands and real ones. Right at the door a sign invites you to enjoy free Wi-Fi throughout the store, which really is a change. But why would you want that? There’s no place to sit in the store and no synergy between laptop use and shopping there. Just for kicks, I had my iPhone hop on the Wi-Fi network only to discover that the connection speeds were noticeably slower than Verizon LTE.

Damning. And it isn’t like today’s news is reassuring:

JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson announced on the company’s Q4 earnings call that he has brought on former Coke marketing exec Sergio Zyman as an advisor as he tries to turn around the ailing department store. […]

Zyman was instrumental in the launch of New Coke in 1985, a product aimed to turn around Coke’s lagging sales and put the company back at the top of the soda industry. The cola’s legendary formula was tweaked in secret to give it a “smoother, rounder yet bolder” taste and production on the classic brand stopped altogether.

Yeah, bring in the guy who was responsible for the launch of a product synonymous with “highly touted new product failure” to try to turn around your highly touted new department store that’s failing. That’ll help.