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JCPenney Reports December Sales
PLANO, Texas, Jan 07, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) comparable store sales decreased 3.8 percent for the five-week period ended Jan. 2, 2010, which was at the favorable end of the Company's guidance for sales to decrease 3 to 6 percent. In last year's December period, comparable store sales decreased 8.1 percent. Total Company sales in December decreased 2.4 percent.

For the period, women's and men's apparel, accessories and shoes were the top performing merchandise divisions, while home experienced the weakest sales. The central region was the best performing region in December, and the northwest region had the softest sales during the month. Internet sales through jcp.com increased strongly in December, with high-teen increases in orders for the key holiday shopping periods of Black Friday weekend and the week before Christmas.

"JCPenney completed a successful holiday selling period by delivering the right combination of stylish merchandise, affordable prices, and industry leading service to our customers," said Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III, chairman and chief executive officer of JCPenney. "As we continue to focus on rigorously managing our business, our team has been able to achieve significant gross margin improvement, control operating expenses, and enhance our cash flow metrics. We remain on track to finish 2009 in both a stronger competitive and financial position."

Preliminary December Sales Summary

($ in millions)
Total Company Sales % Increase/(Decrease)
for period ended Total Sales Comp Stores
Jan. 2, Jan. 3,
2010 2009 2009 2008 2009 2008

5 Weeks

$ 2,889 $ 2,961 (2.4) (6.8) (3.8) (8.1)

9 Weeks

$ 4,610 $ 4,776 (3.5) (8.6) (4.5) (9.6)

48 Weeks

$ 16,616 $ 17,503 (5.1) (6.4) (6.5) (8.0)

January and Fourth Quarter Sales Outlook

Management's guidance for the four-week period ending Jan. 30, 2010, is for a 5 to 8 percent decrease in comparable store sales, compared to a 16.4 percent decrease in last year's January period. Based on sales results for the first two months of the quarter and expectations for January, management expects comparable store sales for the fourth quarter to decrease approximately 5 percent, which is in the middle of the original guidance range for sales to decrease 4 to 6 percent.

Fourth Quarter and 2009 Earnings Guidance

Based on operating performance during the first two months of the quarter, as well as expectations for the January period, management now expects to report fourth quarter earnings of $0.77 to $0.82 per share, which is at the higher end of previous guidance for earnings to be in the range of $0.70 to $0.85 per share. For full year 2009, management expects earnings to be in the range of $1.00 to $1.05 per share.

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

About JCPenney

JCPenney is one of America's leading retailers, operating 1,109 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
Media Relations:
Darcie Brossart, 972-431-3400
jcpcorpcomm@jcpenney.com
or
Corporate Website:
www.jcpenney.net

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