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posted: 12/25/2012 5:25 AM

J.C. Penney adds Abercrombie's Tonniges for Johnson makeover

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Bloomberg News

J.C. Penney Co. hired a former Abercrombie & Fitch Co. executive to help with its stores' layout and design as Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson continues to lure alumni of the teen retailer.

Brandon Tonniges is a director of visual merchandising, Joey Thomas, a J.C. Penney spokesman, said in an e-mail. Tonniges was a vice president in Abercrombie's brand senses division, which the teen retailer's website calls the "creative force" behind its store experience.

Johnson is overhauling the 110-year-old department-store company by turning most of its stores into collections of branded shops as well as reducing sales events and coupons. Since joining as CEO last year, the former Apple Inc. retail chief has hired ex-Abercrombie executives including Chief Operating Officer Michael Kramer, Chief Supply Chain Officer John Singleton and Chief Technology Officer Kristen Blum.

J.C. Penney's sales have dropped 20 percent or more for three straight quarters and the shares have slid 41 percent this year. The stock rose 3.5 percent to $20.88 at the close in New York.

Tonniges will report to a vice president under Michael Fisher, who was named senior vice president of visual presentation in March.

Abercrombie is one of the biggest U.S. specialty retailers with more than 1,000 stores worldwide. Johnson also has tapped Apple and Target Corp. executives to replace managers hired before he joined.

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