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JCPenney ad apologizes for changes made by former CEO Ron Johnson


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A TV ad released this week by JCPenney asks customers to "come back" to the department store, alluding to heavy losses suffered from sweeping changes made by ousted CEO and former Apple executive Ron Johnson.

The 30-second spot, posted to the company's Facebook and YouTube pages, atones for the recent changes believed to be the reason for a steep decline in sales, which resulted in a $12.99 billion year-over-year decline in revenue for fiscal 2012.

During his tenure at JCPenney, Johnson, who was the driving force behind Apple's hugely successful brick-and-mortar Apple Store retail chain, made a number of substantial tweaks to the department store's business model. The initiatives, such as bans on sale pricing and the promotion of trendy products in "stores-within-a-store," fell flat.

Under Johnson's one year with JCPenney, sales fell 25 percent and the company posting a net loss of $985 million. As a result, he was fired in April, with Mike Ullman, who Johnson replaced in 2011, called back to his post as chief executive.

Voice over from the commercial:

It’s no secret, recently J.C. Penney changed. Some changes you liked and some you didn’t, but what matters with 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.

While short ad appears to lambast Johnson's decisions post facto, according to Bloomberg, the commercial was made under his watch. The publication cites JCPenney spokesman Joey Thomas as saying development of the commercial began a few months ago as a result of poor customer feedback.

With Apple in need of a senior vice president of retail, speculation has abounded regarding Johnson's possible return to the Cupertino company. For now, retail operations will continue to be directly managed by CEO Tim Cook with help from Apple's vice president of finance Jim Bean.