Home Boosts J.C. Penney Q4 Comp Gains

For the fourth quarter ended January 30, J.C. Penney Co. reported that comparable store sales gained 4.1% year over year, while net sales were $4 billion compared to $3.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Home, Sephora, footwear, and handbags were the top performing merchandising categories in the merchandise divisions during the quarter, the company said. In terms of geography, all regions delivered comp sales gains over the same period last year with the best performance in the western and northeastern regions.

The company said it posted a net loss of $131 million, or 43 cents per diluted share, versus a net loss of $35 million, or 11 cents per diluted share for the year-earlier period. The company reported that adjusted earnings per share were 39 cents, after excluding charges associated with primary pension plan expense, restructuring costs and the loss on extinguishment of debt, compared with four cents in the prior-year quarter. Adjusted net income was $121 million versus $13 million in the year-previous period. Operating loss was $18 million versus operating income of $68 million in the fiscal 2014 period.

Diluted earnings per share beat a Thomson Reuters analyst average estimate of 23 cents.

For the full fiscal year, the retailer reported a net loss of $513 million, or $1.68 per diluted share, versus net loss of $717 million, or $2.35 per diluted share, in the year earlier. Adjusted net loss was $315 million, or $1.03 per diluted share, for the year versus a net loss of $778 million, or $2.25 per diluted share, in fiscal 2014.

Comps in the fiscal year rose 4.5% versus fiscal 2014, while net sales were $12.63 billion versus $12.26 billion. Operating loss was $89 million versus a loss of $254 million in the 2014 fiscal year.

“Our focus on private brands, omnichannel and revenue per customer is clearly resonating as we continue to win market share in a competitive environment,” said Marvin Ellison, J.C. Penney CEO. “We are also pleased that we delivered strong fourth quarter results while effectively managing our inventory, which finished the year up 2.6%.”

The company operates over 1,000 store locations across the United States and Puerto Rico.