Retail innovator Ron Johnson on the Apple Store, SoulCycle, and his new approach to digital commerce

Ron Johnson has been responsible for bringing new ideas — not always successfully — to companies like Target, Apple, and JC Penney.

Ron Johnson, in blue shirt at center, with Enjoy colleagues.

Ron Johnson, in blue shirt at center, with Enjoy colleagues.

As a merchandising VP for Target, he brought in designers like Michael Graves to create high-style products at affordable prices. At Apple, he worked alongside Steve Jobs to launch the first Apple Store in 2001; the retail outlets now generate more revenue per square foot than any U.S. rival. But his tenure as CEO of department store chain JC Penney lasted less than two years, and included one quarter in which same-store sales dropped by a third. After being ousted at Penney, Johnson launched an e-commerce startup called Enjoy, which has raised $80 million in venture capital funding.

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