J.C. Penney Q1 Comps Down, Home Sees Growth

Comparable store sales at J.C. Penney fell during the first quarter as officials with the retailer said a difficult selling environment in February had a negative impact on results for the three month period ended April 29.

The department store reported net sales of $2.7 billion, down from sales of $2.8 billion in the first quarter of 2016. Comparable store sales were off 3.5%. The company had a net loss of $180 million, or $0.58 per diluted share, versus a net loss of $68 million, or $0.22 per diluted share, the comparable quarter the previous year.

Home, Sephora, fine jewelry and salon all comped positively and were the company’s top performing divisions during the quarter. Geographically, the southwest and southeast were the best performing regions of the country.

Marvin Ellison, J.C. Penney’s chairman and CEO, said the company continues to make “encouraging” progress in its competitive and financial position despite the retailer’s top-line performance during the first quarter.

“While February was a very challenging month for J.C. Penney and broader retail, we are pleased with our comp store sales for the combined March and April period, which improved significantly versus February,” he said. “The recent sales trends, combined with the improvement in women’s apparel and our growth initiatives led by Sephora inside J.C. Penney, jcp.com and major appliances, provide us with the confidence to maintain our sales guidance for the full year.”

The company reaffirmed its 2017 full year guidance. Comparable store sales are expected to be between down 1% and up 1% with adjusted earnings per share expected to be $0.40 to $0.65.