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JCPenney Hopes Ellen DeGeneres Can Boost Its Image

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NEW YORK (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – As J.C. Penney Co. aims to re-invent itself, it’s hoping a famous former employee can help out.

Talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, who worked at a Penney store in Louisiana, in the 1970s, will make store appearances and star in a new TV ad campaign to air this spring.

“One of my first jobs was at a jcpenney in Metairie, Louisiana. You know what – I don’t think I ever clocked out on my last day. I should look into that. Anyway, I’m so excited to be back working with the company,” said DeGeneres.

Penney has a new CEO, former Apple executive Ron Johnson. His changes include overhauling the price structure, creating a new logo and carving its 1,100 stores into 100 specialty shops, showcasing new brands like Martha Stewart.

But perhaps the biggest challenge for the Plano-based chain is to sell shoppers on its new pricing, which launched Wednesday.

Penney is getting rid of hundreds of sales and is now focusing on “everyday” prices and monthly sales events.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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