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Jan 9, 2020
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J.C. Penney holiday comps take a tumble as turnaround efforts continue

Published
Jan 9, 2020

In the midst of a turnaround orchestrated by CEO Jill Soltau, Plano, Texas-based department store operator J.C. Penney Company, Inc. reported a decrease in comparable store sales for the holiday period but reaffirmed its full-year financial guidance.


J.C. Penney reported declines in comparable store sales for the holiday season on Thursday - Instagram: @jcpenney

 
The company announced that its comparable store sales for the nine-week period ended January 4, 2020 fell 7.5%.
 
It’s worth noting that sales at J.C. Penney were affected negatively over the holiday period by the retailer’s exit from the major appliance and in-store furniture categories, but even when this impact is disregarded, the company’s comps still fell 5.3%.

Despite the decline, J.C. Penney confirmed its previously reported guidance for the full fiscal year 2019. The company continues to expect to see comparable store sales decrease between 7% and 8%, while adjusted EBITDA is anticipated to exceed $475 million.
 
In the third quarter ended November 2, 2019, the retailer posted a 6.6% decrease in comparable store sales, but managed to slash its losses, progress that Soltau stated was proof that turnaround efforts were taking hold.

Aside from ditching its major appliance and in-store furniture categories to refocus on its higher-margin apparel business, the company has also reduced inventory, closed underperforming outlets, tested out a new experiential store format and embarked on a partnership with digital-first second-hand clothing retailer ThredUp as it looks to boost its sales and climb back into profit.
 
In December the company appointed Pandora alum Karl Walsh as its new chief digital officer.
 
J.C. Penney stock fell 3.3% in premarket trading on Thursday following the announcement of its holiday sales results. The retailer’s stock is down 10.5% over the past year.

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