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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.

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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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