JC Penney’s chief executive, former Apple Retail boss Ron Johnson, has been ousted and replaced by his predecessor at the US department store.

Mike Ullman, who Johnson replaced just 16 months ago, has been rehired as JC Penney’s turnaround plan backfired leading to huge losses and a steep sales plunge.

In the first year of its turnaround, JC Penney turnover plummeted 25% to $12.98bn (£8.5bn) and the retailer amassed nearly $1bn in losses.

Ullman was in charge of the department store for seven years until November 2011.

Johnson’s turnaround plan had focused on getting rid of discount, replacing them with everyday low prices and bringing in new brands.

Johnson, formerly senior vice-president of retail at Apple, was credited for making Apple Stores cool. His successor at Apple, John Browett, exited the technology firm after less than six months. Browett is now at the helm at fashion retailer Monsoon.