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Former Apple Exec, J.C. Penney CEO to Launch Delivery Startup

The godfather of Apple’s retail stores is trying to reinvent shopping again, this time by getting rid of stores.

Ron Johnson, who left Apple in 2011 for a controversial stint as the CEO of J.C. Penney, is launching a high-end, on-demand delivery service for gadgets, according to several people who have talked to him about it. And he has recruited some former Apple employees, including one-time Apple VP Jerry McDougal, to help.

The effort will be a closely watched attempt to reinvent real-world shopping for the digital age as well as a third big act for the retail executive who was fired from his last job after 17 months.

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The plan could help Samsung and other competitors get some of Apple’s retail panache and compete by offering greater convenience. Samsung has been pondering investing in its own retail stores in the U.S. but has been focused for now on showcase areas in Best Buy. 

AT&T and Samsung didn’t return requests for comment.

Hunter Walk commented on this article.
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There is still a big question mark over the on-demand delivery business model, particularly when it comes to low-margin gadgets. The key will be what sort of premium users are willing to pay for the delivery and any related customer service.