J.C. Penney launches new growth brands division

Plano, Texas J.C. Penney Co. announced Thursday that it has launched a Growth Brands Division, created to pursue what the retailer sees as high-potential opportunities in the retail space, including both digital initiatives and retail store opportunities.

According to J.C. Penney, the new initiatives will be separate from the core brand and will start with two online programs slated to launch in summer 2011 under the direction of a new executive. Longtime magazine publisher Anne Sutherland Fuchs has joined the company as group president, digital ventures of the Growth Brands Division, and will oversee the launch of CLAD, an online menswear resource aimed at ages 25 to 54. Day-to-day operations of CLAD will be headed by Will Swillie, who has joined Growth Brands from Retail Convergence, a portfolio of e-commerce companies including Rue La La.

A second initiative, Gifting Grace, will be an online gifting resource. Effective Dec. 6, Mary Drolet, founder of Club Libby Lu, will join the Growth Brands Division to lead Gifting Grace.

“Our objective through this new division is to capitalize on our extraordinary retail expertise to strategically pursue untapped opportunities to serve key customer segments,” said Myron E. “Mike” Ullman, J.C. Penney CEO. “Our aim is to generate new revenue streams consistent with our Long Range Plan mission of being the growth leader in the retail industry.”