They were both reared in cold Midwestern towns: Steinhafel in Milwaukee and Johnson in Edina, Minn. They both worked at Target: Steinhafel joined the Minneapolis-based retailer in 1979 as a merchandising trainee, and Johnson had been the chain's vice president of merchandising until he left in 2000. They both suffered an economy that continues to impoverish retail customers.

Will a change in leadership at JC Penney help the retailer get their core customers back in the store? Dana Telsey, Telsey Advisory Group, discusses the company's future with former chief Mike Ullman now at the helm.

To say J.C. Penney has been struggling is a vast understatement. Last month, the department store reported horrific holiday-quarter results, with the most drastic decline in sales in its 111-year history of operation. In addition, former J.C. Penney CEO Allen Questrom delivered a brutal takedown of the department store's current status in an interview to CNBC, stating it "can't continue with the same leadership." But, with Johnson's recent announcement that he "has no plans of retiring," the retailer is forced to rely on a new strategy other than the CEO's departure. Enter: Joe Fresh.

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