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J.C. Penney Q1 Comp Sales Flat

It was a tougher than expected first quarter for J.C. Penney as the department store chain reported sales that were below expectations, which were impacted by what company officials said was a late start to spring weather.

Comparable store sales for the quarter ended May 5 were up 0.2%, with total net sales down 4.3% to $2.58 billion. The drop in overall sales was pinned on the closing of 141 stores in the second and third quarters of fiscal year 2017. Net loss for the quarter was $78 million, or $0.25 per share, compared to a net loss of $187 million, or $0.60 per share in the comparable quarter the prior year.

Despite the softer than expected results, Marvin Ellison, the retailer’s chairman and CEO, said the company believes its strategies are beginning to take hold and are seeing improvement in a number of areas.

“Apparel categories performed well during seasonable weather periods and our beauty and home refresh initiatives performed well above our total comp sales performance for the quarter,” he said.

The retailer also revised its 2018 full year guidance. Comparable store sales are now expected to be flat to up 2%, while adjusted earnings per share are expected to be in the range of $0.07 to $0.13.