J.C. Penney Q4 loss worse than expected; same-store sales fall 32%

Plano, Texas -- There were no signs of relief for J.C. Penney Co. in the fourth quarter as the company reported a wider-than-expected net loss of $552 million, compared with a loss of $87 million in the year-ago period. The chain did not issue guidance, but did announce it would open nearly 20 home-centered shops with different brand partners in 550 stores the spring.

Total sales for the quarter, which included $163 million of sales in the 53rd week, decreased 28.4 % to $3.88 billion. Analysts had expected $4.08 billion. Same- store sales, which exclude the 53rd week, declined 31.7%, below the consensus call of 26.9%. Online sales fell 34.4% to $315 million.

For the year, Penney reported a net loss of $985 million or $4.49 per share. Total sales declined 24.8% to $12.96 billion. Analysts had forecast sales of $13.18 billion compares with actual 2011 sales of $17.26 billion.

“Sales and customer traffic were below our expectations in 2012, but as we execute our ambitious transformation plan, we are pleased with the great strides we made to improve J.C. Penney`s cost structure, technology platforms and the overall customer experience,” stated Ron Johnson, president and CEO, J.C. Penney Co. “We have accomplished so much in the last twelve months. We believe the bold actions taken in 2012 will materially improve the company’s long-term growth and profitability."

Penney also gave more details into its ongoing store overhaul plans. In spring 2013, it plans to open close to 20 shops designated for home products in 505 stores with brand partners such as Michael Graves, Jonathan Adler and Sir Terence Conran, among others.

In addition to transforming the home area, the company will open nearly 700 Joe Fresh apparel shops on March 15, 2013 as it transforms nearly 11 million sq. ft. of retail space in the spring.

In addition, Penney will open 60 Sephora shops inside Penney stores, bringing the total to 446.

“Looking ahead, we are energized by our shop roll out plans for 2013 and the exciting work our teams are undertaking to transform the store,” Johnson said. “Combining a new marketing campaign focused on style and value, incredible new brands and updated merchandise, with continued enhancements to the customer experience both in our stores and on jcp.com, we are working towards reconnecting with our core customer while attracting new customers to J.C. Penney.”

 

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JCP Q4 results

Crash, burn, repeat. Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.