By  on April 14, 2008

NEW YORK — J.C. Penney Co. has replaced its top men’s merchant.

On Monday, Steven Lawrence was promoted to executive vice-president and GMM of men’s, replacing Lana Cain who recently left the company. Formerly senior vice-president and GMM of children’s, Lawrence is being replaced in that area by Clark McNaught.

Before being named to head the children’s division in 2006, Lawrence was divisional vice-president and DMM for young men’s sportswear for the Texas-based retailer. He joined Penney’s in 2000 from Foley’s where he had held positions of increasing responsibility in the men’s division for 10 years.

Lawrence will report to Ken Hicks, president and chief merchandising officer.

“J.C. Penney invests greatly in the career development of our associates at all levels of the Company, and the bench strength of our merchandise organization is particularly strong. Steve and Clark are great contributors and have extended their reach across all merchandise divisions, exhibiting true leadership that has been instrumental in our growth. We are fortunate to be able to fill both positions internally, and are confident that they will continue to grow and develop their respective teams and businesses.”

McNaught, a 25-year retail veteran of the retail industry, was formerly divisional vice-president and DMM of men’s accessories, furnishings and clothing. Prior to joining Penney’s in 2001, McNaught was at Foley’s for over five years. He will also report to Hicks. 

In other Penney’s news, the company also announced today that it would extend its American Living label into the young men’s department by back-to-school. Among the items offered will be premium denim jeans, signature polos, tees and fleece. Americn Living, which hit stores in February is rolling out to 600 Penney’s stores nationally. Created by Polo Ralph Lauren’s Global Brand Concepts, American Living is available in 40 categories throughout the store.

In another move to attract the young shopper, Penney’s also said it will add Whitetag, an “urban rock-inpsired collection” to its young men’s area for b-t-s. This label, created by South Pole parent, Wicked Fashion, will also focus on premium denim and will include art-inspired tees, woven shirts and fleece track jackets.

Penney’s is also launching a juniors label called Decree in time for back-to-school.

Penney’s, which boasts that it is the number-one department store for teens in the mall, will update the fixtures and graphics in the young men’s and juniors area to showcase the new labels. J.C. Penney management will meet with analysts and the press for a two-day meeting beginning tomorrow.

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