Bringing it back to retail, consider walking into an Apple retail store. Now, consider walking into some other retailer — use your own example — with a less thoughtful physical layout. It seems that this is where Mr. Johnson believes he will make a difference. His success with Apple's retail store is in part due to their staging's effect on the customer's experience. And, most certainly, he believes that he can extend this concept to J.C. Penney.
Beyond the aspect of staging, there are potential operational benefits of the store in a store model. With the majority of staffing of stores coming from the product makers themselves, J.C. Penney might have lower overhead expenses. With each product maker operating its own "store", the product makers would have greater control over sales, which might increase sales. Given a sales override, higher sales by the product makers would lead to higher income to J.C. Penney.