Former J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson contributes to e-retailer Nasty Gal’s $16 million funding round

March 2, 2015 01:22 PM

Nasty Gal Inc., a mostly web-only retailer of women’s apparel that echoes the punk and otherwise nihilistic fashions of the late 1970s, has raised $16 million in a funding round led by the man who once oversaw retailing at Apple Inc., worked at Target Corp. and was CEO of J.C. Penney Inc.

Ron Johnson led the Series C round for the merchant, which is No. 113 in the Internet Retailer 2014 Top 500 Guide. He also joins the Nasty Gal board of directors. Index Ventures also took part in the round, which brings the 9-year-old retailer’s total funding to $65 million.

“Over the past 18 months Ron has become a valued mentor and friend. I can’t imagine anyone more qualified to support our growth in this next phase,” says Sophia Amoruso, Nasty Girl’s founder and executive chairman. “This move will allow him to get significantly involved with Nasty Gal to help us succeed in our next phase of growth.”

Johnson worked as Target’s vice president of merchandising until 1999, when he left that chain—now No. 18 in the Top 500 Guide—for a job as Apple’s senior vice president of retail.

Johnson at Apple (No. 2) led the opening of some 300 stores, according to his LinkedIn profile, giving consumers the chance touch and try various versions of iPhones, iPads, computers and other Apple gear.

In November 2011, Johnson moved to J.C. Penney, hoping to turn around the fortunes of that department store chain but leaving after two years. In 2014, Johnson announced his new venture, Enjoy Technologies Inc., backed by $30 million in capital. Details, including exactly the type of core service his e-commerce startup will offer, remain unclear, but Enjoy is scheduled to launch later this year.

Other Nasty Gal board members include Amoruso, Danny Rimer of Index Ventures and Sheree Waterson, Nasty Gal’s recently installed CEO. Nasty Gal launched its first retail store on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles in November 2014 and has a second planned for the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica in the spring. 




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