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Source: Internet Retailer Internet Retailer

Ron Johnson climbs back into the online retail arena

Published: 09 Dec 2014 02:54:13 PST

The former retail store chief at Apple and J.C. Penney CEO is launching Enjoy Technologies Inc. in 2015.

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Ron Johnson, formerly the head of retailing at Apple Inc. and one-time CEO of J.C. Penney Inc., is back in the online retailing game.

Details, including exactly the type of core service his e-commerce start-up will offer, are sketchy, but in a posting on Enjoy Technology Inc. Johnson says his new operation will begin operating in 2015. The venture is backed with $30 million in start-up capital from well-known e-commerce and private equity firms including Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers; Oak Investment Partners; and Andreessen Horowitz.

In a letter announcing Enjoy’s launch, Johnson says the new company “will reinvent the way people buy and experience the products that matter most to them.” In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Johnson says Enjoy will not be a delivery-only company. Instead he describes the new venture in general terms as launching an e-commerce venture that will enable consumers to purchase products in a very personalized way much as they can currently do at an Apple Inc. retail store.

At Apple stores consumers are able to touch and try out the various versions of iPhones, IPads, computers and other Apple gear and receives lots of hands-on personal assistance from customer reps. After leaving Target Corp., Johnson worked for 11 years as the senior vice president of retail at Apple (No. 2 in the 2014 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide), which today operates a network of 416 store worldwide and 264 in the U.S.

Johnson left Apple and was named CEO of J.C. Penney Co. in June 2011 but left the company less than two years later in April 2013 after failing to turn J.C. Penney around.

In his letter Johnson tells consumers and suppliers his new venture will be worth the wait. “Enjoy will provide high-touch personal service to help people make the most of their important purchases,” he writes. “Through Enjoy, our partner brands will have an entirely new way to bring their emerging products to market, forging direct and quality connections with their customers.”

To help run the new company, Johnson has hired Tom Suiter, a former Apple creative director; Kunal Malik, a one-time chief technology officer of the San Francisco 49ers football team; and Jerry McDougal, a former Apple vice president of retail.

By Mark Brohan Research Director
October 24, 2014, 4:15 PM

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