J.C. Penney has strong October; claims turnaround progress

Plano, Texas – J.C. Penney says it is making continued progress in its turnaround after reporting some strong financial results for October 2013. Preliminary results indicate that compared to the same month in the prior year, same-store sales increased 0.9%, online sales grew 37.6%, and conversion continued to improve, which Penney says reflects favorable customer response to promotional events and improved inventory levels.

The same-store sales growth is the first positive same-store sales Penney has reported since December 2011. In September 2013, its same-store sales declined 4%. Penney attributes its improved sales trends to the restoration of inventory levels in key private brands, including St. John's Bay, Stafford, and jcp Home, and significant sales increases in Levi's, Nike, Carter's, Dockers, Alfred Dunner, Vanity Fair and Izod. The company also opened 30 new Sephora inside Penney locations in October, bringing the total to 446 locations.

"J.C. Penney has made significant progress in addressing the challenges it faces, and we believe the company is on the right track to return to long-term profitable growth," said Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III, CEO of J.C. Penney. "We are proud of our October sales improvement, which we achieved despite the federal government shutdown and a challenging consumer environment. Not only did we deliver positive same-store sales for the first time since December of 2011, we also saw significantly improved sales trends in home and men's apparel, as well as women's accessories. We expect the holiday season to be extremely competitive, and we are ready to win."