PLANO, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP) today announced that it has created a Growth Brands Division, which will pursue high potential opportunities in the retail sector. These initiatives will be separate from the Company’s core JCPenney brand and will leverage its exceptional merchandising, marketing, product development, sourcing, IT, planning and allocation, and consumer research capabilities to create new retail businesses and drive sales growth. The Company’s pursuit of these initiatives, which will include both digital and retail store opportunities, reflects its Long Range Plan objective of growth leadership in its industry.
The first two initiatives under the new division -- CLAD™ and Gifting Grace™ -- will be launched in summer of 2011 and are both strategic collaborations with Hearst Magazines. Anne Sutherland Fuchs, a highly experienced brand and digital executive, has joined the Company as Group President, Digital Ventures of the Growth Brands Division, reporting to J. C. Penney Company, Inc. Chairman & CEO, Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III. The new initiatives include:
- CLAD: A complete online modern menswear resource aimed at fashionable men ages 25 to 54, CLAD will provide a full assortment of well-curated designer brands in a savvy digital environment. It is headed by Will Swillie, who has joined Growth Brands having previously been Director of Brand Management at Retail Convergence, a portfolio of e-commerce companies including Rue La La, where he launched the men’s business, after spending more than 15 years at top retailers.
- Gifting Grace: Targeting women ages 30 to 54, giftinggrace.com will be a comprehensive online gifting resource offering an extensive assortment of unique and memorable gift items, compelling content and convenient tools for the year-round gift-giver. Effective Dec. 6, Mary Drolet, a retail industry veteran and founder of Club Libby Lu, will join the Growth Brands Division to lead Gifting Grace.
Mr. Swillie and Ms. Drolet will both report to Ms. Fuchs.
Mr. Ullman said, “Our objective through this new division is to capitalize on our extraordinary retail expertise to strategically pursue untapped opportunities to serve key customer segments. Our aim is to generate new revenue streams consistent with our Long Range Plan mission of being the growth leader in the retail industry.
“Our ability to attract a highly accomplished team of experienced, visionary retailers to lead our new growth businesses speaks to the potential we all see ahead to create the next generation of retail industry leaders. We look forward to aggressively pursuing these and other opportunities and providing consumers with innovative, new shopping experiences that reflect the exceptional operational resources that our Company can bring to bear.”
Anne Sutherland Fuchs, Group President, Growth Brands Division, Digital Ventures, is a highly experienced executive and consultant to companies on branding and digital initiatives. She also serves as a director of Gartner Inc., the information technology, research and advisory company, as well as of Pitney Bowes, Inc., which provides software and hardware for physical and digital communications channels. Before her consulting career, she had been an executive at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, where she ran its Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg auction business. She began her career at The New York Times, followed by CBS Publications and Hachette Publications and subsequently joined Condé Nast Publications Ltd., where she served as Senior Vice President and Director, International from March 1994 to September 1994 and as Publisher of Vogue Magazine from January 1991 to March 1994. She then joined Hearst Magazines as Senior Vice President and Group Publishing Director with responsibility for many of the organization's women’s magazines, including O, the Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire and Harper’s Bazaar. She is also currently the Chair of the NYC Commission on Women’s Issues, serving as a liaison between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the female community of New York.
Mary Drolet, President of Gifting Grace, has spent more than 25 years in the retail industry and has worked in a wide variety of retail environments from start-ups to large department stores. She began her career at Neiman Marcus, then moved to Carson Pirie Scott and subsequently to Montgomery Ward, where she held senior merchandising positions, including General Merchandise Manager of Women’s Apparel. She then became Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer of Claire’s Stores, before she founded Club Libby Lu in 1999. Club Libby Lu was sold to Saks in 2004, and she ran it until 2009, at which point it had grown to 98 locations under her leadership.
Will Swillie, President of CLAD, joins the Company from Retail Convergence, which owns a portfolio of e-commerce businesses including Rue La La and SmartBargains.com. Among his achievements there was launching the Rue La La men’s business earlier this year. He began his career in the men’s tailored clothing and furnishings business in 1991 and moved to positions of increasing responsibility, including buyer for men’s tailored clothing and later furnishings at Neiman Marcus. Before joining Retail Convergence, Mr. Swillie was a senior buyer for men’s tailored clothing and furnishings at Polo Ralph Lauren.
About J. C. Penney Company, Inc.
J. C. Penney Company, Inc., traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol JCP, is a Plano, Texas-based holding company with $17.6 billion in sales. The Company has over 1,100 retail locations throughout the United States and Puerto Rico under the JCPenney brand name. Its Growth Brands Division, a division pursuing high potential opportunities in the retail sector, includes both store and online initiatives. With the largest product development & sourcing organization in the retail industry, J. C. Penney Company, Inc. continues to be the forerunner in retail merchandise innovation.
This release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements, which reflect the Company's current views of future events and financial performance, involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause the Company's actual results to be materially different from planned or expected results. Those risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, general economic conditions, including inflation, recession, unemployment levels, consumer spending patterns, credit availability and debt levels, changes in store traffic trends, the cost of goods, trade restrictions, changes in tariff, freight, paper and postal rates, changes in the cost of fuel and other energy and transportation costs, increases in wage and benefit costs, competition and retail industry consolidations, interest rate fluctuations, dollar and other currency valuations, risks associated with war, an act of terrorism or pandemic, and a systems failure and/or security breach that results in the theft, transfer or unauthorized disclosure of customer, employee or Company information. Please refer to the Company's most recent Form 10-K and subsequent filings for a further discussion of risks and uncertainties. Investors should take such risks into account when making investment decisions. We do not undertake to update these forward-looking statements as of any future date.