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JCPenney, Ralph Lauren Form Brand

The U.S. economy may be stumbling, but J.C. Penney Co. Chief Executive Myron "Mike" Ullman III believes its biggest brand launch ever -- an exclusive line with Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. -- couldn't happen at a better time.

"We think given this competitive climate, we are very well positioned to take market share," Ullman said.

The brand, American Living, is expected to be a billion-dollar business in the next few years, accounting for 5% of the department store chain's annual sales, Ullman said. It spans 40 categories, including women's and men's clothing, home furnishings, shoes and luggage.

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