J.C. Penney Holiday Comps Decline, To Evaluate Store Portfolio

In a preliminary update on the holiday season, J.C. Penney revealed that its comparable store sales declined. The department store retailer also said it would close three stores and signaled that more store closings could be on the way as it reviews its strategies and store portfolio.

The company reported that its comparable store sales for the combined nine-week period ending January 5, 2019, decreased 3.5% on a shifted basis. On an unshifted basis, comparable sales decreased 5.4%, the company said.

J.C. Penney also reaffirmed its expectations to generate positive free cash flow in fiscal 2018, reduce inventory in excess of $225 million or 8% and expects to end the year with liquidity in excess of $2 billion.

Additionally, J.C. Penney said it will initiate three preliminary store closings this spring as part of an ongoing evaluation of its store portfolio occurring over the next few months, which includes assessing locations that may not meet required financial targets or represent a market opportunity to capitalize on a beneficial real estate asset.

J.C. Penney added that further information related to “future store closings” will be shared on February 28 when the company reports its fourth quarter and fiscal 2018 results.