AP Interview: JC Penney CEO talks about the chain

NEW YORK (AP) ? Everyone wants to see what Ron Johnson will do next.

For 15 years, Johnson worked at Target, where he pioneered the retailer’s cheap chic image. Then, he spent about a decade changing the way Americans shop for electronic gadgets at Apple. Now, the question is whether Johnson will strike creative genius a third time as CEO of J.C. Penney.

The 30-year retail industry veteran already is borrowing from Apple’s playbook by innovating Penney’s stores, cutting out heavy discounting and providing services not just products.

Despite Johnson’s impressive retail resume, though, overhauling Penney won’t be easy. During an hour-long interview this month at Penney’s Plano, Texas, headquarters, Johnson, 52, talked about everything from the challenges Penney faces to where he shops. He mentioned Apple 19 times.