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J.C. Penney apologizes for former Apple exec's moves

The company launches an ad campaign admitting that it had made mistakes and asks customers to come back.

Yeah, I guess it is, Ron Johnson.
Yeah, I guess it is, Ron.
Sarah Tew/CNET

J.C. Penney has launched a new ad campaign apologizing for the decisions made under Ron Johnson, its former chief executive and Apple's one-time retail chief.

The new ad, posted to YouTube, focuses people in different locations as a narrator acknowledges the company's recent mistakes that left customers unhappy and pushed revenue down billions of dollars.

"It's no secret, recently J.C. Penney changed," the narrator says over the ad. "Some changes you liked and some you didn't, but what matters from mistakes is what we learn. We learned a very simple thing: to listen to you. To hear what you need, to make your life more beautiful. Come back to J.C. Penney. We heard you. Now, we'd love to see you."

The ad is a response to the decisions made by former Apple retail executive Ron Johnson, who took over the J.C. Penney CEO job in November 2011. Although shareholders were initially excited by the sweeping changes he wanted to make to the retail company -- including eliminating sale items and attempting to make the stores "fun places to hang out" -- the decisions apparently annoyed customers and led J.C. Penney to a dramatically poor 2013 fiscal year. Revenue plummeted by nearly $5 billion in fiscal 2013, and its net loss widened from $152 million in the prior year to $985 million.

Johnson, who made a name for himself as the chief architect behind Apple's wildly successful retail stores, was ousted as J.C. Penney's CEO last month. His predecessor, Mike Ullman, is his replacement.