J.C. Penney Q4 Earnings Shrink But Less Than Expected

Although comparable sales declined significantly, J.C. Penney earnings contrasted with Wall Street estimates for a fourth quarter loss.

Net income for the fourth quarter was $27 million, or eight cents per share, compared to net income of $75 million, or 24 cents per share, in the same period a year past, the company reported. Adjusted net income was $43 million, or 13 cents per share, this year versus $57 million, or 18 cents per share, in the year-before quarter.

Comparable sales slipped 7% for the quarter, while adjusted comparable sales, which exclude the impact of the company’s exit from major appliance and in-store furniture categories, decreased 4.7% for the period year over year. Total sales and revenues, with revenues including credit card and other income, decreased 7.7% to $3.38 billion and $3.49 billion, respectively, in the year-earlier quarter.

For the fiscal year, J.C. Penney posted a net loss of $268 million, or 84 cents per share, versus $255 million, or 81 cents per share, in the year past. Adjusted net loss was $257 million, or 80 cents per share, versus $296 million, or 94 cents, in the year previous.

Comparable store sales in the fiscal year slid 7.7%, while adjusted comps decreased 5.6% year over year. Total net sales decreased 8.1% to $10.72 billion and revenues decreased 7.1% to $11.17 billion versus the year previous.

“In fiscal 2019, we met or exceeded all five financial guidance metrics for the year, and we delivered our third consecutive quarter of meaningful gross-margin improvement in the fourth quarter,” said Jill Soltau, J.C. Penney CEO. “I am encouraged by our progress, especially in our women’s apparel businesses. We knew it would take time to restore discipline and return growth to J.C. Penney. As we move into fiscal 2020, we remain focused on the key tenets of retail as we continue rebuilding the company and implementing our Plan for Renewal.”