JCPenney has launched a growth brands division to leverage merchandising opportunities, product development and consumer research. A Hearst Magazines collaboration is the first initiative under the new unit.
The new division, along with Hearst, is developing CLAD, an online modern menswear resource for ages 25 to 53, and Gifting Grace, an online gifting resource for women ages 30 to 54. Both will launch in summer 2011.
CLAD will offer an assortment of well-curated designer brands digitally. It will be led by Will Swillie, who had served as director of brand management at Retail Convergence, a portfolio of e-commerce companies including Rue La La.
Meanwhile, Gifting Grace will provide an extensive range of unique gift items, as well as convenient tools for consumers. Mary Drolet, founder of Club Libby Lu, will lead the program.
"Our objective through this new division is to capitalize on our extraordinary retail expertise to strategically pursue untapped opportunities to serve key customer segments," says Myron E. Ullman, JCP's chairman and chief executive officer.