Ron Johnson's strategy for J.C. Penney, if it had worked, would have reinvented modern department store retailing.

It was audacious, iconoclastic and long-term in its attempt to modernize the retailer’s image, store design and merchandise and cut all the coupons and price promoting. But the former Penney’s chief executive officer was ousted on Monday, leaving the company in a tailspin, struggling to recapture lost customers, and with a potential business school case study on how not to manage a public company.

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