JCPenney Reaffirms Outlook Despite Holiday Sales Decline

J. C. Penney Company Inc. is the latest retailer to post a decline in holiday revenues.

The Plano-based firm logged same-store sales for the nine-week period ending Jan. 4 that sank 7.5%. Adjusted comps, which excluded the impact of its exit from major appliance and in-store furniture categories, also decreased 5.3%.

At market open, JCPenney’s stock was down 2.5% to $1.17.

Despite the steep drop, the company reaffirmed its outlook for the year. It expects same-store sales to dip 7% to 8% and adjusted comps to lose in the range of a 5% to 6%.

In the third quarter reported Nov. 15, JCPenney noted a narrower-than-expected third-quarter loss and upgraded the full-year outlook. Its adjusted net loss per share improved 37.5% to 29 cents — far better than Wall Street’s bets of a 55-cent loss. Revenues decreased 10.1% to $2.38 billion, while adjusted same-store sales were down 6.6%. Analysts had expected a drop of 7.7%.

Additionally, the company at the time called for adjusted profits of $475 million, compared with previous forecasts of between $440 million and $475 million.

The Q3 figures signaled hope for JCPenney, which had struggled for several quarters with declining sales, leadership changes and digital competition that spooked investors and pushed its stock below $1, putting it at risk of delisting from the New York Stock Exchange.

In mid-July, the chain had hired debt restructuring advisers to buy itself more time for a turnaround, with CEO Jill Soltau leading the push to close underperforming stores and hire new talent to revive the business. It also announced a partnership with ThredUp in August, arranging for 30 of its stores to soon offer a selection of the online consignment firm’s secondhand apparel and accessories.

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