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JCPenney Reports Better Than Expected March Sales Results
Company Raises First Quarter Sales and Earnings Guidance
PLANO, Texas, Apr 09, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) comparable store sales decreased 7.2 percent for the five-week period ended April 4, 2009, better than the Company's guidance for a low-double digit to mid-teen decrease. During the same period last year, comparable store sales decreased 12.3 percent. Total Company sales in March decreased 5.4 percent.

"Our success with spring merchandise shows the great work our team has done to combine enhanced style with affordable prices to deliver excellent value to our customers. The positive response we are receiving is most evident across our women's assortments and increasingly in our home business," said Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Along with a conservative approach to planning our inventory, adding newness and excitement to our merchandise assortments will continue to be an important part of our strategy in this difficult environment."

Overall, home was the best performing division in March, while fine jewelry experienced the weakest sales results. Geographically, the best performing area of the country was the central region, while the southeast region had the weakest results.

Preliminary March Sales Summary

($ in millions)
Total Company Sales % Increase/(Decrease)
for period ended Total Sales Comp Stores
Apr. 4, Apr. 5,
2009 2008 2009 2008 2009 2008

5 Weeks

$ 1,455 $ 1,538 (5.4 ) (10.3 ) (7.2 ) (12.3 )

9 Weeks

$ 2,620 $ 2,794 (6.2 ) (7.8 ) (7.9 ) (9.9 )

April Sales and Updated First Quarter Sales and Earnings Outlook

The following updated guidance takes into consideration operating performance during the first two months of the Company's fiscal first quarter and the Company's sales guidance for the month of April.

  • April sales: Comparable department store sales are expected to decrease 9 to 12 percent. In last year's April period, comparable store sales decreased 1.7 percent. April sales results this year will reflect the shift of Easter into the April reporting period and include one less selling day compared to last year.
  • First quarter sales: Management now expects comparable store sales to decrease 8 to 10 percent compared to previous guidance for a decrease of 12 to 15 percent.
  • First quarter earnings: Management now expects to report a loss in the range of $0.05 to $0.10 per share, which includes a negative impact of approximately $0.23 per share for non-cash primary pension plan expense. This compares to previous guidance for a loss of $0.20 to $0.30 per share, which also included the pension expense impact.

2009 Analyst Meeting

JCPenney will host a meeting for analysts and investors on Wednesday, April 22, 2009. The meeting will be held at TheTimesCenter located at 242 West 41st Street, New York, NY. Check-in will start at 7:15 a.m. The meeting will begin at 8:00 a.m. and conclude at 12:30 p.m. followed by an optional lunch with management. For additional details or to register for the event, please visit the Company's Investor Relations website at www.jcpenney.net.

Sales Conference Call Recording (8:30 a.m. ET) -- (877) 793-7778

About JCPenney

JCPenney is one of America's leading retailers, operating 1,101 department stores throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, as well as one of the largest apparel and home furnishing sites on the Internet, jcp.com, and the nation's largest general merchandise catalog business. Through these integrated channels, JCPenney offers a wide array of national, private and exclusive brands which reflect the Company's commitment to providing customers with style and quality at a smart price. Traded as "JCP" on the New York Stock Exchange, the Company posted revenue of $18.5 billion in 2008 and is executing its strategic plan to be the growth leader in the retail industry. Key to this strategy is JCPenney's "Every Day Matters" brand positioning, intended to generate deeper, more emotionally driven relationships with customers by fully engaging the Company's approximately 150,000 Associates to offer encouragement, provide ideas and inspire customers every time they shop with JCPenney.

This release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements, which reflect the Company's current views of future events and financial performance, involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause the Company's actual results to be materially different from planned or expected results. Those risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, general economic conditions, including inflation, recession, unemployment levels, consumer spending patterns, credit availability and debt levels, changes in store traffic trends, the cost of goods, trade restrictions, changes in tariff, freight, paper and postal rates, changes in the cost of fuel and other energy and transportation costs, increases in wage and benefit costs, competition and retail industry consolidations, interest rate fluctuations, dollar and other currency valuations, risks associated with war, an act of terrorism or pandemic, and a systems failure and/or security breach that results in the theft, transfer or unauthorized disclosure of customer, employee or Company information. Please refer to the Company's most recent Form 10-K and subsequent filings for a further discussion of risks and uncertainties. Investors should take such risks into account when making investment decisions. We do not undertake to update these forward-looking statements as of any future date.

SOURCE: J. C. Penney Company, Inc.

J. C. Penney Company, Inc.
Investor Relations:
Phil Sanchez, 972-431-5575
psanc3@jcpenney.com
or
Kristin Hays, 972-431-1261
klhays@jcpenney.com
or
Media Relations:
Darcie Brossart, 972-431-3400
jcpcorpcomm@jcpenney.com
or
Corporate Website:
www.jcpenney.net