Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Significant Accounting Policies

v3.6.0.2
Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Jan. 28, 2017
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Significant Accounting Policies
Significant Accounting Policies 
 
Merchandise and Services Revenue Recognition 
Total net sales, which exclude sales taxes and are net of estimated returns, are generally recorded when payment is received and the customer takes possession of the merchandise. Service revenue is recorded at the time the customer receives the benefit of the service, such as salon, portrait, optical or custom decorating. Commissions earned on sales generated by licensed departments are included as a component of total net sales. Shipping and handling fees charged to customers are also included in total net sales with corresponding costs recorded as cost of goods sold. We provide for estimated future returns based primarily on historical return rates and sales levels.







Based on how we categorized our divisions in 2016, our merchandise mix of total net sales over the last three years was as follows: 
 
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
Women’s apparel
 
24
%
 
25
%
 
26
%
Men’s apparel and accessories
 
22
%
 
22
%
 
22
%
Home
 
13
%
 
12
%
 
12
%
Women’s accessories, including Sephora
 
13
%
 
12
%
 
11
%
Children’s apparel
 
10
%
 
10
%
 
10
%
Footwear and handbags
 
8
%
 
8
%
 
8
%
Jewelry
 
6
%
 
6
%
 
6
%
Services and other
 
4
%
 
5
%
 
5
%
 
 
100
%
 
100
%
 
100
%

 
Gift Card Revenue Recognition
At the time gift cards are sold, no revenue is recognized; rather, a liability is established for the face amount of the card. The liability remains recorded until the earlier of redemption, escheatment or 60 months. The liability is relieved and revenue is recognized when gift cards are redeemed for merchandise or services. We escheat a portion of unredeemed gift cards according to Delaware escheatment requirements that govern remittance of the cost of the merchandise portion of unredeemed gift cards over five years old. After reflecting the amount escheated, any remaining liability (referred to as breakage) is relieved and recognized as a reduction of SG&A expenses as an offset to the costs of administering the gift card program. Though our gift cards do not expire, it is our historical experience that the likelihood of redemption after 60 months is remote. The liability for gift cards is recorded in other accounts payable and accrued expenses on the Consolidated Balance Sheets.
 
Customer Loyalty Program
Customers who spend a certain amount with us using our private label card or registered third party credit cards receive JCP Rewards® certificates, redeemable for merchandise or services in our stores the following two months. In accordance with the incremental cost method, we estimate the net cost of the rewards that will be redeemed and record this as cost of goods sold as rewards points are accumulated. Other administrative costs of the loyalty program are recorded in SG&A expenses as incurred.
 
Cost of Goods Sold
Cost of goods sold includes all costs directly related to bringing merchandise to its final selling destination. These costs include the cost of the merchandise (net of discounts or allowances earned), sourcing and procurement costs, buying and brand development costs, including buyers’ salaries and related expenses, royalties and design fees, freight costs, warehouse operating expenses, merchandise examination, inspection and testing, store merchandise distribution center expenses, including rent, and shipping and handling costs incurred on sales via the Internet.
  
Vendor Allowances
We receive vendor support in the form of cash payments or allowances for a variety of reimbursements such as cooperative advertising, markdowns, vendor shipping and packaging compliance, defective merchandise and the purchase of vendor specific fixtures. We have agreements in place with each vendor setting forth the specific conditions for each allowance or payment. Depending on the arrangement, we either recognize the allowance as a reduction of current costs or defer the payment over the period the related merchandise is sold. If the payment is a reimbursement for costs incurred, it is generally offset against those related costs; otherwise, it is treated as a reduction to the cost of merchandise.
 
Markdown reimbursements related to merchandise that has been sold are negotiated and documented by our buying teams and are credited directly to cost of goods sold in the period received. Vendor allowances received prior to merchandise being sold are deferred and recognized as a reduction of inventory and credited to cost of goods sold based on an inventory turnover rate.
 
Vendor compliance credits reimburse us for incremental merchandise handling expenses incurred due to a vendor’s failure to comply with our established shipping or merchandise preparation requirements. Vendor compliance credits are recorded as a reduction of merchandise handling costs.
 
Selling, General and Administrative Expenses
SG&A expenses include the following costs, except as related to merchandise buying, sourcing, warehousing or distribution activities: salaries, marketing costs, occupancy and rent expense, utilities and maintenance, pre-opening expenses, costs related to information technology, administrative costs related to our home office and district and regional operations, real and personal property and other taxes (excluding income taxes) and credit/debit card fees.
  
Advertising
Advertising costs, which include newspaper, television, Internet search marketing, radio and other media advertising, are expensed either as incurred or the first time the advertisement occurs.  For cooperative advertising programs offered by national brands that require proof of advertising to be provided to the vendor to support the reimbursement of the incurred cost, we offset the allowances against the related advertising expense.  Programs that do not require proof of advertising are monitored to ensure that the allowance provided by each vendor is a reimbursement of costs incurred to advertise for that particular vendor’s label.  Total advertising costs, net of cooperative advertising vendor reimbursements of $26 million, $32 million and $1 million for 2016, 2015 and 2014, respectively, were $769 million, $792 million and $886 million, respectively.
 
Income Taxes
We account for income taxes using the asset and liability method. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases and operating loss and tax credit carryforwards. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the years in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. The effect on deferred tax assets and liabilities of a change in tax rates is recognized in income in the period that includes the enactment date. A valuation allowance is recorded to reduce the carrying amounts of deferred tax assets unless it is more likely than not such assets will be realized. We recognize accrued interest and penalties related to unrecognized tax benefits in income tax expense in our Consolidated Statements of Operations. 

Earnings/(Loss) per Share
Basic earnings/(loss) per share (EPS) is computed by dividing net income/(loss) by the weighted-average number of common shares outstanding during the period. Diluted EPS is computed by dividing net income/(loss) by the weighted-average number of common shares outstanding during the period plus the number of additional common shares that would have been outstanding if the potentially dilutive shares had been issued. Potentially dilutive shares include stock options, unvested restricted stock units and awards and a warrant outstanding during the period, using the treasury stock method. Potentially dilutive shares are excluded from the computations of diluted EPS if their effect would be anti-dilutive.
 
Cash and Cash Equivalents
Cash and cash equivalents include cash short-term investments that are highly liquid investments with original maturities of three months or less. Cash short-term investments consist primarily of short-term U.S. Treasury money market funds and a portfolio of highly rated bank deposits and are stated at cost, which approximates fair market value due to the short-term maturity. Cash in banks and in transit also include credit card sales transactions that are settled early in the following period.
 
Merchandise Inventory
Inventories are valued at the lower of cost (using the first-in, first-out or “FIFO” method) or market. For department stores, regional warehouses and store distribution centers, we value inventories using the retail method. Under the retail method, retail values of merchandise groups are converted to a cost basis by applying the specific average cost-to-retail ratio related to each merchandise grouping. For Internet, we use standard cost, representing average vendor cost, to determine lower of cost or market.
 
Physical inventories are taken on a staggered basis at least once per year at all store and supply chain locations, inventory records are adjusted to reflect actual inventory counts and any resulting shortage (shrinkage) is recognized. Following inventory counts, shrinkage is estimated as a percent of sales, based on the most recent physical inventory, in combination with current events and historical experience. We have loss prevention programs and policies in place that are intended to mitigate shrinkage.
Property and Equipment, Net
 
 
Estimated Useful Lives
 
 
 
 
($ in millions)
 
(Years)
 
2016
 
2015
Land
 
N/A
 
$
249

 
$
272

Buildings
 
50
 
4,859

 
4,877

Furniture and equipment
 
3-20
 
1,963

 
2,064

Leasehold improvements(1)
 
 
 
1,254

 
1,244

Capital leases (equipment)
 
3-5
 
116

 
116

Accumulated depreciation
 
 
 
(3,842
)
 
(3,757
)
Property and equipment, net
 
 
 
$
4,599

 
$
4,816



(1)
Leasehold improvements are depreciated over the shorter of the estimated useful lives of the improvements or the term of the lease, including renewals determined to be reasonably assured.

Property and equipment is stated at cost less accumulated depreciation. Depreciation is computed primarily by using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the related assets.
 
We expense routine maintenance and repairs when incurred. We capitalize major replacements and improvements. We remove the cost of assets sold or retired and the related accumulated depreciation or amortization from the accounts and include any resulting gain or loss in net income/(loss).
 
We recognize a liability for the fair value of our conditional asset retirement obligations, which are primarily related to asbestos removal, when probable and if the liability’s fair value can be reasonably estimated.
 
Capitalized Software Costs
We capitalize costs associated with the acquisition or development of major software for internal use in other assets in our Consolidated Balance Sheets and amortize the asset over the expected useful life of the software, generally between three and seven years. We only capitalize subsequent additions, modifications or upgrades to internal-use software to the extent that such changes allow the software to perform a task it previously did not perform. We expense software maintenance and training costs as incurred.

Cloud computing arrangements are evaluated to determine whether the arrangement includes a software license or is a service contract. If determined to be a software license, then the arrangement is capitalized as an other asset and amortized over the expected life of software, generally between three to seven years. If determined to be a service contract, then the cost of the arrangement is expensed as the services are provided.

Impairment of Long-Lived and Indefinite-Lived Assets
We evaluate long-lived assets such as store property and equipment and other corporate assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of those assets may not be recoverable. Factors considered important that could trigger an impairment review include, but are not limited to, significant underperformance relative to historical or projected future operating results and significant changes in the manner of use of the assets or our overall business strategies. Potential impairment exists if the estimated undiscounted cash flows expected to result from the use of the asset plus any net proceeds expected from disposition of the asset are less than the carrying value of the asset. The amount of the impairment loss represents the excess of the carrying value of the asset over its fair value and is included in Real estate and other, net in the Consolidated Statements of Operations. We estimate fair value based on either a projected discounted cash flow method using a discount rate that is considered commensurate with the risk inherent in our current business model or appraised value, as appropriate. We also take other factors into consideration in estimating the fair value of our stores, such as local market conditions, operating environment, mall performance and other trends.
 
We assess the recoverability of indefinite-lived intangible assets at least annually during the fourth quarter of our fiscal year or whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of the indefinite-lived intangible asset may not be fully recoverable. Examples of a change in events or circumstances include, but are not limited to, a decrease in the market price of the asset, a history of cash flow losses related to the use of the asset or a significant adverse change in the extent or manner in which an asset is being used. We test our indefinite-lived intangible assets utilizing the relief from royalty method to determine the estimated fair value for each indefinite-lived intangible asset. The relief from royalty method estimates our theoretical royalty savings from ownership of the intangible asset. Key assumptions used in this model include discount rates, royalty rates, growth rates, sales projections and terminal value rates.
  
Leases
We use a consistent lease term when calculating amortization of leasehold improvements, determining straight-line rent expense under an operating lease and determining classification of leases as either operating or capital. For purposes of recognizing incentives, premiums, rent holidays and minimum rental expenses on a straight-line basis over the terms of operating leases, we use the date of initial possession to begin amortization, which is generally when we take control of the property. Renewal options determined to be reasonably assured are also included in the lease term. Some leases require additional payments based on sales and the related contingent rent is recorded as rent expense when the payment is probable.
 
Some of our lease agreements contain developer/tenant allowances. Upon receipt of such allowances, we record a deferred rent liability in other liabilities on the Consolidated Balance Sheets. The allowances are then amortized on a straight-line basis over the remaining terms of the corresponding leases as a reduction of rent expense.

Capital leases are recorded as an asset and an obligation at an amount equal to the present value of the minimum lease payments during the lease term. Assets subject to an operating lease and the related lease payments are not recorded on our balance sheet. Rent expense related to an operating lease is recognized on a straight-line basis over the lease term resulting in periodic deferred rent balances to adjust the cash rent paid.

Sale-leasebacks are transactions through which we sell assets and subsequently lease them back. The resulting leases that qualify for sale-leaseback accounting are evaluated and accounted for as operating leases or capital leases. A transaction that does not qualify for sale-leaseback accounting as a result of a prohibited form of continuing involvement is accounted for as a financing. For a financing transaction, we retain the "sold" assets within property and equipment and record a financing obligation equal to the amount of cash proceeds received. Rental payments under such transactions are recognized as a reduction of the financing obligation and as interest expense using an effective interest method.
 
Exit or Disposal Activity Costs
Costs associated with exit or disposal activities are recorded at their fair values when a liability has been incurred. Reserves for operating leases are established at the time of closure for the present value of any remaining operating lease obligations (PVOL), net of estimated sublease income. Severance is recorded over the service period required to be rendered in order to receive the termination benefits or, if employees will not be retained to render future service, a reserve is established when communication has occurred to the affected employees. Other exit costs are accrued when incurred.
 
Retirement-Related Benefits
We recognize the funded status – the difference between the fair value of plan assets and the plan’s benefit obligation – of our defined benefit pension and postretirement plans directly on the Consolidated Balance Sheet. Each overfunded plan is recognized as an asset and each underfunded plan is recognized as a liability. We adjust other comprehensive income/(loss) to reflect prior service cost or credits and actuarial gain or loss amounts arising during the period and reclassification adjustments for amounts being recognized as components of net periodic pension/postretirement cost, net of tax. Prior service cost or credits are amortized to net income/(loss) over the average remaining service period, a period of about eight years for the primary plan. Pension related actuarial gains or losses in excess of 10% of the greater of the fair value of plan assets or the plan's projected benefit obligation (the corridor) are recognized annually in the fourth quarter each year (Mark-to-market (MTM) adjustment), and, if applicable, in any interim period in which an interim remeasurement is triggered.
 
We measure the plan assets and obligations annually at the adopted measurement date of January 31 to determine pension expense for the subsequent year. The factors and assumptions affecting the measurement are the characteristics of the population and salary increases, with the most important being the expected return on plan assets and the discount rate for the pension obligation. We use actuarial calculations for the assumptions, which require significant judgment.
    
Stock-Based Compensation
Stock options are valued primarily using the binomial lattice option pricing model and are granted with an exercise price equal to the closing price of our common stock on the grant date. Time-based and performance-based restricted stock awards are valued using the closing price of our common stock on the grant date. For awards that have market conditions, such as attaining a specified stock price or based on total shareholder return, we use a Monte Carlo simulation model to determine the value of the award. Our current plan does not permit awarding stock options below grant-date market value nor does it allow any repricing subsequent to the date of grant.

Stock options are valued using the following assumptions:

Valuation Method. We estimate the fair value of stock option awards on the date of grant using primarily the binomial lattice model. We believe that the binomial lattice model is a more accurate model for valuing employee stock options since it better reflects the impact of stock price changes on option exercise behavior.

Expected Term. Our expected option term represents the average period that we expect stock options to be outstanding and is determined based on our historical experience, giving consideration to contractual terms, vesting schedules, anticipated stock prices and expected future behavior of option holders.

Expected Volatility. Our expected volatility is based on a blend of the historical volatility of JCPenney stock combined with an estimate of the implied volatility derived from exchange traded options.

Risk-Free Interest Rate. Our risk-free interest rate is based on zero-coupon U.S. Treasury yields in effect at the date of grant with the same period as the expected option life.

Expected Dividend Yield. The dividend assumption is based on our current expectations about our dividend policy.

Employee stock options and time-based and performance-based restricted stock awards typically vest over periods ranging from one to three years and employee stock options have a maximum term of 10 years. Estimates of forfeitures are incorporated at the grant date and are adjusted if actual results are different from initial estimates. For awards that have performance conditions, the probability of achieving the performance condition is evaluated each reporting period, and if the performance condition is expected to be achieved, the related compensation expense is recorded over the service period. In addition, certain performance-based restricted stock awards may be granted where the number of shares may be increased to the maximum or reduced to the minimum threshold based on the results of the performance metrics in accordance with the terms established at the time of the award. In the event that performance conditions are not achieved and the awards do not vest, compensation expense is reversed. For market based awards, we record expense over the service period, regardless of whether or not the market condition is achieved.

Awards with graded vesting that only have a time vesting requirement and awards that vest entirely at the end of the vesting requirement are expensed on a straight-line basis for the entire award. Expense for awards with graded vesting that incorporate a market or performance requirement is attributed separately based on the vesting for each tranche.