It all began with Sarah Jessica Parker’s fashion stylings in”Sex and The City”:women everywhere wanted to acquire everything shown in her world because they so identified with her characters and began to feel that expensive fashion should be there due.
Women began to walk on shoes the height of minature skyscrapers and expect fashion from Barneys.
When the banks imploded they had champagne tastes embedded in their cerebral cortexes but lacked the money to obtain this richesse.This was obviated by new shopping patterns which changed on a dime:women began to frequent vintage clothing stores,buy the sales at department stores and shop at Ebay.
The reality shows came in, like the Kardashian saga;continuing the dream that if women would only dress like hookers or pampered divas,the world would be theirs.
Department stores of fashion and house furnishings had to offer women pricing which met very narrow requirements and margins because they were competing with: Ebay,vintage clothing shops,the sales of their competators and budget stores which offered inexpensive pieces.
This created a Black Swan in the fashion industry of sorts,especially for the younger hip generation of Gen-X.These women know the names of the great designers of the past,wear high high heels which must be Laboutin or better,know they can obtain designer clothes for chump change and when they walk into a departement store expect merchandize which has heretefore not been available:they expect champagne taste on their beer budget:inexpensive clothes which look like they were made by a top designer.
I would argue these young women and the older women who are following these young style creators are almost like a Darwinian mutation of the previous woman shopper:they are a new species now apparant.
Mr Johnson thought he understood what he was dealing with.He ,after all had a history of bringing top designers to Target and getting their inexpensive creations marketed.
The thing is,matters have escalated way beyond his ken now and he doesn’t understand this.
His attempt to voluntarily bring Martha Stewart’s brand to J.C. Penney show just how out of touch he actually is now.Her brand,even if he was able to obtain it,simply would not appeal to this new breed of women buyers.
When the charts of Martha Stewart,Ron Johnson and J.C. Penney are compared to each other they show a confluence of negative factors which blow up their gestault.Mr Johnson with his inept sense of reading trends has set himself ,his company and Ms. Stewart for a situation which will not end well.I would argue however,what he has actually done is show how lacking his skills are.
A C.E.O. has to understand,down to their pores,the product they are selling and the clients they are selling to:rule of the jungle.